Monday, February 21, 2011

Yoga: Off The Mat

When I'm in class, Stacy often talks about taking our yoga practice "off the mat" - using what you learn in yoga and applying it to life. That is something I'm really trying to do. I went into this thinking that the yoga would just be physical - a good way to get my muscles in shape, and improve my flexibility, and work on deeper breathing. It's all that, but it's a bit more as well.

Sometimes, it just takes hearing an encouraging word or thought during class, and then I try to take that with me throughout the day. Last Wednesday, Stacy asked me how I was feeling. Usually the answer is "good" or "fine," whenever anyone asks me that. But that day, I just launched into my frustrations about gaining weight since I stopped running, despite my attempts at dietary changes. I was being extra hard on myself, 'cause...that's what we do! It's human nature. She told me I should treat myself as I would a best friend. I thought, hmmm. If Snoop came to me and she was beating herself up about weight gain, what would I say to her? Probably not, "well you shouldn't have ate those Late July cookies" or "you need to get your broken toe healed ASAP so you can get back to running." LOL!

So then, I did take a moment to reflect on the good that has come out of not running:

  1. My left knee (well, both my knees) feels better already, from the therapy/reinjury in January. I had gone to therapy for the tendonitis and was doing well. All it took was ONE cardio funk class to take my left knee back to where it was before I started therapy (well, pretty close, anyway). I was kicking myself for taking that class. Since I started concentrating on yoga, I don't have any problems with my knees. Child's Pose used to be a stress on my knee. I don't even feel it now.

  2. I can tell that my strength/flexibility has most definitely increased. And that's a good thing! It will help whenever I do start running again.

My take away from that class, which I posted on my FB status, was that it is what it is, things aren't going to change overnight, and I have to be more forgiving of myself. I've been doing that and I feel better.

Today's class was all about transitions. Merriam-Webster defines "transition" as the following:

a : passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another : change
b : a movement, development, or evolution from one form, stage, or style to another

With respect to our yoga practice that day, it was all about using your core muscles to help you move from one yoga position to the next. Stacy had taken a workshop over the weekend that focused on that, and she was eager to torture me share her new knowledge with me. Yay!

With every move, we focused on our core; squeezing pelvic muscles and breathing. She told me to pretend like I was holding onto an egg with my muscles, and that I didn't want to drop it. At one point during class, I told her that egg was cracked on the ground. LOL! We do a lot of laughing in class.

Anywho, focusing on the core brought new meaning, focus, and muscle tension to moves I had done several times before. It changes things up. As LDR would say, I was sweating like a sistah in a klan meeting, by the time we went to the mat! Whew! :::wipes brow:::

At the beginning of class we talked about how we go through life without paying attention to the transition. In yoga, if you don't engage your core and pay attention to the transition from one move to another, you don't get the full benefit of the movement. You have to use your inner core to get those arms and legs where you want them to go.

That's the same thing with life. Sometimes we need to slow down and pay attention to the transition. I KNOW I need to. My mind is constantly racing about what is the next thing I have to accomplish. What's my next financial goal, when's my next trip, what do I need to get done at work, when do I see LDR/my family again...meanwhile, back at the ranch, days are floating by and I haven't paid a bit of attention. Sigh.

Like I said on the book of faces this morning: It's good to move from A to B, but did you think about how you got there, or did you just move?

It's time that I start focusing on my inner strengths while I'm "making moves" out here in the world. :)


This One Woman said...

I know I needed to read this today. I've been so focus on the end result of my emotional healing that I haven't been given the proper respect to the transitions.

affectionforfitness said...

Hi! Great post! Exercise is metaphorical for life. I learned to be patient with myself and just keep trying and not be so focused on results with yoga. With weightlifting, I learned to appreciate my woman power! I am strong and I love that about myself.

However, I haven't really learned to take what I've learned from yoga and weightlifting and applied it in other ways to my life as well as I should. I would like to do that more and better.

:-) Marion