why yoga doesn’t suck

Two weeks into P90X and I’m really feeling fantastic. I’ve only lost 1 lb. but that’s ok. I feel stronger and I feel more confident. I haven’t been as strict as I should be with the dietary changes but I’ve tried to at least shift my thinking toward eating to live and not living to eat. It’s difficult. I love food. I love yummy fattening food. But the interesting thing is that in working out this much my body has quickly stopped craving crap. Doing something good for my health is starting to spill over into my cravings as well. Gives credence to the phrase, you are what you eat. If you sit on the couch and watch TV all day, your body will follow suit and desire potato chips and ice cream. If you get off your tush and do 6 days of P90X a week, your body will desire/need/crave healthy fuel to keep it going. It’s remarkable. I have been jonesing for lots of protein, whole grains, fruit, and LOTS of veggies. I can feel my body asking for those things. My brain however is always late to the game and is still a little bit stuck in junk food habit world. I can feel my body yearning for fresh vegetables, but still my hand reaches for Ben & Jerry’s. I have found myself eating junk food, looking at it and thinking “I don’t even want this! Why am I eating it?” I don’t think I have the answer to that questions except to say that food like that has been more about an emotional habit rather than nourishment. Bad habits die hard. Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight, here’s what I have to say to you, it’s so f*#$^*ing hard!! SO hard. I feel your pain and I’m right there with you. The journey continues. But I didn’t come here today to write about food. I came to write about…

Yoga. You’ve heard me say it before. I don’t like it. I guess I should say, I didn’t like it. I never thought I would ever like yoga. For whatever reason I found that it made me more anxious rather than less. Not the desired affect. Yoga is part of the P90X regimen and I made a decision before I even began the program that I would not like that workout day. Yesterday I learned a very important lesson about the dangers of making preconceived judgments. The lesson is, don’t.

Yoga X is hard, really hard. Maybe not to a yoga afficianado, but I really have nothing to base it on since I haven’t gone to a yoga class in years. Perhaps to all my yoga teacher friends out there it would be a walk in the park. To me, it’s incredibly challenging. The first week of P90X is challenging in its entirety. Yoga rolls around by day 4. By then, I had already pulled a muscle in my stomach. Try doing a chaturanga with a strained abdominal muscle. I hated it. On top of the pain and discomfort, Yoga X was 90 minutes long. To me it was 90 minutes of torture and I made the decision that I would always dread this workout.

Fast forward to yesterday. Day 4 of week 2. Yoga day. I went through my entire day at work dreading going home to do Yoga. I just kept thinking: 90 minutes of torture. 90 minutes of pain and me feeling disgruntled. 90 minutes is forever. I got home and figured I would just get it over with as soon as possible. I quickly put on my workout clothes and got out my mat. 90 minutes. Ugh. Then I stopped. I paused for a moment and realized that I wasn’t doing myself any favors by building up this 90 minute workout as an eternity in my head. It was all relative. 90 minutes at Disneyland goes by like 30 seconds. Why did this have to feel like forever? I let myself be still for a moment and allowed yoga as a meditative and spiritual practice have an affect on me. After all, what is 90 minutes? In the scope of my day, 90 minutes is a small slice. In the scope of my life, it’s a tiny blib. In the scope of the universe, it’s practically non-existent. On a cosmic level this 90 minutes was both meaningless and precious. Meaningless in that it was a practically immeasurable amount of time in the span of the universe. Precious in that within such a tiny time frame I had the opportunity to breathe and meditate and learn something that may change my life forever. Every moment is like that isn’t it? Within every moment we have the power to change the world, and yet those moments are so tiny. Incalculable power within immeasurable blips of time. Isn’t that what makes humans incredible? We are smaller than the dust on the back of an ant, and yet we have within us the ability to comprehend the wonder of the universe. It’s a miracle. In my jump to decide that I would forever hate 90 minutes a week of yoga, I hadn’t realized that I was flushing away 90 minutes of precious time. Time that I could never ever get back. Time to strengthen. Time to breathe. Time to center. I had this revelation in a fleeting instant and it immediately opened my eyes. Before I pressed play I decided that I wouldn’t all of a sudden decide that I was going to love yoga, but I wouldn’t let my negative experiences of it in the past shape my present. I began with an open and inquisitive mind.

I loved every minute of it. I found a part of myself that I had not previously been acquainted with. I felt strong. I felt calm. I felt peace. I won’t say that 90 minutes flew by, but neither did it drag on. It had no meaning. It did not mean an eternity. It did not mean a quick flash of time. It was a series of moments that I savored. I learned a very important lesson about presence in that time.

It was still hard. Incredibly hard. I was grateful for the physical challenge as it forced me to focus and not get caught up in what just happened or what would come next. I have often said that I didn’t like yoga because it didn’t get my blood pumping. I love to run. I love kickboxing. I love these things because they are high impact and incredibly aerobic. I like to feel the sweat come out of my pores and the blood pump through my veins. These things keep me from getting distracted. They keep me from thinking about anything else other than breathing and form and one foot in front of the other. In this sense running has always been very therapeutic and meditative for me. Perhaps the yoga classes I’d previously encountered were not challenging enough. Perhaps I didn’t challenge myself enough. Perhaps I made too many snap judgments. I’m not sure. I do know that yesterday all that changed. I discovered the physical challenges and benefits of a strong yoga routine, and more importantly I think, I discovered the power of savoring each moment as a precious gift. Every moment that passes is a death. A death of time that you will never get back. What you choose to do with your moments of time is a series of life or death decisions. A series of gifts.

I’m definitely looking forward to yoga next week. It does, after all, not suck. 

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