A Novice Yogi Explores the Push-Pull of Practice
The most difficult part of starting an exercise routine—millions of people know what I’m talking about—is sticking with the program.
It’s easy to have good intentions and start. You buy the equipment, maybe get a new outfit and imagine yourself as a stronger, thinner, more flexible, toned, and happy you. But before you know it, there are more good excuses to miss than good reasons to go. That’s what happened to me.
My first few sessions of yoga were both relaxing and invigorating, and I realized how inflexible I had become. Beside the mental and exercise benefits, I thought yoga could make a REAL difference in my life by lengthening my bent posture, which was dragged down by my impossibly tight hamstrings and back. Plus, I enjoy yoga better than many forms of exercise.
But work got really busy, we left town for Thanksgiving, my sister’s family needed my help in a faraway city, I started covering college basketball games at night, and I became the coach for my son’s ninth-grade team. There were parties and service projects and my Scout troop. When would I have time to yoga-cize?
Well, finally, I did return and the experience was disheartening. What I was afraid might happen was manifest. I was as tight as before. I was also mentally less able to focus. We tried some balancing poses and I had to use blocks, straps and the wall to come close to what the instructor was demonstrating.
I looked around the yoga studio. The same people who were always there, well, they were doing just fine with these “impossible” poses. That included the sixty-somethings who are a large contingent in the class. Meanwhile, my forty-something body wobbled and creaked and I felt like a failure.
Just like I tell my players at basketball practice, you can’t expect to get better if you don’t practice. How can I expect to get stronger, more limber, and peaceful if I don’t make it to yoga class? I won’t. So I decided I will … make a better effort. My schedule is crazy enough that can’t always go to the same scheduled sessions. So I’ll have to do some at home and some with other teachers.
It seems I also need your advice. How do you stay fixed on your yoga routine? How many times a week do you need to do yoga in order to reach your goals/satisfaction?
Any suggestions for our Novice Yogi? Comment here!