In 2005, I did yoga twice per day. A very unflexible person, I began to gain an amazing amount of flexibility and strength through that daily practice. My body was sculpted by its own weight. I felt alive and warm and strong. Then something set in. Resistance? Busyness? Excuses? And I quit doing yoga. I quit working out at all. Over the years, I gained weight slowly. My body grew stiff and sore. I discovered extreme workouts in 2010, and yoga came back into my life once per week for awhile. But mostly I skipped it a lot.
Every time I do yoga, literally every time, I wonder why I don’t do it more often. It is a massage for my body, for my muscles, for my nerves, for my mind. It is challenging and relaxing at the same time. It gives me an opportunity to be inside myself, to listen to God.
I have been trying to get yoga back into my routine, at least a few times a week. I want to get stronger, more flexible, more durable. My back has a few issues that only yoga seems to be able to solve. So yesterday I set out to try something a little different than what I usually do, which is do yoga to a DVD or just do my own vinyasa series. I decided to do 50 sun salutations. For seasoned yoga veterans, this probably doesn’t seem like much. But for someone who has been on a fitness break for a month, this was a big task.
I wrote about it on my fitness instagram account, @soul_strong_women yesterday. There was a voice inside of my head as I stood in mountain pose at the front of my mat. It said I shouldn’t do 50. That was too hard. Maybe 30. Ok, 40. That voice is the resistance, something that Steven Pressfield talks about in his book, The War of Art, which I’ve talked about on this blog before. The whole time I moved in that glorious cycle: breathe, stretch, breathe, jump, breathe, push, breathe, flex, breathe, jump, breathe, conquer….the resistance whispered to me that 40 would be enough. 50 is a goal that’s too big for you today. You don’t have your strength back yet.
Sometimes while we are in the midst of working out, things hurt in a way that we know we need to back off or modify. This was not one of those times. Yes, by the 35th vinyasa, my arms were feeling a little bit like jello and it was taking more concentration for me to not face-plant during upward-dog. But I knew I had the strength to reach 50.
It is funny how the Resistance can get a grasp upon our goals like that. Suddenly we are arguing with it, compromising even, sometimes we just agree outright. It debunks us. It stops us before we even start, and then we wonder why we couldn’t keep our resolutions, meet our goals. We wonder why we’ve been in the same place for so long, stuck.
So I did it. I did 50. The time I spent in child’s pose was sweeter after that. While I did my static asanas, my body vibrated with the energy of 50 salutations. My arms are still sore today, but the soreness is one of those delicious reminders that I did something new and pushed beyond my comfort zone. I accomplished something I haven’t done before. And now the idea of doing 60, 80, or even 100 vinyasas doesn’t feel so unreal. The idea of conquering other goals doesn’t feel so impossible.
I hope everyone is having a lovely Friday! 🙂