November 30, 2012

When you are ready for the message, you'll hear it.

It's my third week of participating in hot yoga and I feel like I've found my new love interest (at least for this month...he he). I've been averaging 4 days a week, but I want more! I'm even considering doing that 30 day challenge (where you go 30 days straight...but I'm not sure I have that kinda time, that much body water, and enough outfits).

Anyway, I have fallen in deep like and admiration for an instructor at this center. She has been an integral part of my growing interest in this activity due to her manner of instruction and attention to individual differences. I have trained over 600 personal trainers in my career and lead train the trainer events in fitness leadership for over 20 years and she is one of the best instructors I have seen in a long time. She knows how to include all sizes, abilities, and experience AND she makes it interesting.

Take last night, for example. I ended up in the 5:30 class and, just like fitness classes, the 5:30 had more advanced people wearing more advanced yoga gear and doing more advanced petzel twisting than any class I have gone to yet. Whatever...yoga isn't about social comparison, it's about personal gains and experiences. So I tried not to look over at the sweaty bodies contorting themselves into postures I can't even comprehend...and focus on my teeny tiny movements (as to not break a bone or rip out connective tissue).

The most impactful time of each yoga class (when my favorite instructor "M" teaches) is the time we lie in ....what does she call it??......assuna?...syassa?...whatever lying on your back and staring at the ceiling is. This is the time she starts reminding us of why we are here. Last night, as I laid there like a dead fish on the beach, she started to talk about all the years "we" have created muscular imbalances through fitness and sport and how, over time, these imbalances can lead to the pain and inflexibility we are faced with now (I do believe she was personally talking to me at the time).

What amazed me the most was, after all the years in the "industry" of health and fitness, after all the education hours learning about imbalance, and after all the times I talked about the importance of balance....I was hearing this message for the very first time. I realized, right then and there, I had exercised for 20 years doing what I loved - doing high intensity cardio to loud music not even thinking about the imbalance I was creating. My behaviours lead to my back pain and I was finally ready to hear this message.

I'm finally ready to make a change. Finally.

I had my 7th class last night and celebrated the fact I could actually grab my ankles behind me (for the first time since I've been going...of course bending myself in half will take a few years but we have to celebrate the small things in life). My challenge is learning to lock my joints (after 20 years of keeping them soft), but change will happen. What's more important is how I'm feeling (both physically and emotionally). When I was working in the gym-doing spin and weights, I would be in my head the entire time; working out problems, going through conversations, and more or less stressing out over something. When I go to yoga, I have no time to focus on anything but how the hell am I going to get out of this pose or how much body water I'm actually losing. My mind goes blank. It's truly a respite from life. I leave feeling relaxed and at peace.

Unbelievable.

I realize it's only been a couple of weeks, but I do enjoy it and I'm always excited to get up in the morning when it's yoga day. I haven't felt that for a while now (years actually). If you have something like that in your life now (be it a physical activity, hobby, or challenge of some sort) congratulations...if you are looking for something, keep at it - it's well worth it.

I continue to cling to stories about people walking into their first hot yoga class with a cane and walking out without one. Although I still have back pain, it isn't as bad as it was...and it's only been a few weeks. Like anything else, this will take time, patience, and more time but at least I'm enjoying the process and not begrudging it. THAT's what behaviour change is all about and THAT's Real Life Health. 

Thanks "M" for such a great yoga experience. I can't wait for your next class!

K

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