I went to a yoga class the other day… for the first time in 10 years!
I used to practice regularly, in the home of a beautiful friend who used to live here. Her calming voice and professional instruction moulded my body into every pose under the sun (salutation.) Over the course of 2 years under her tutelage, I went from complete yoga novice, to not only knowing the poses, but being able to do them, and hold them-even the inverted ones! Yoga became an integral part of my exercise routine. And after every session, I left feeling calm, peaceful, and strong.
Not so last Thursday. While I did survive the 75-minute session, I found myself focussing on the clock more than my breathing, my pants more than my plough. I felt unbalanced and headachy. We took a group picture before departing the studio (this was a going-away celebration for a sweet friend), and although I tried my best to hide it, those who know me well will recognise that I’m suppressing a strong desire to puke. I wondered how I could come away feeling so decidedly unwell, given the amount of hard-core exercise I do every week.
Perhaps, suggested my sweet yogi friend, we were not warmed up properly. Perhaps it was that we went into the inverted poses a bit too soon during the session. Perhaps the flow could have been different. Yeah, perhaps… But just maybe after 10 years of not doing yoga, my body was simply out of its element, and no amount of bootcamp and pull-ups could have possibly prepared me for 75 minutes of shoulder stand and fish pose. Yup, that’s the more likely scenario.
Then I thought: WHOA! I wonder how many gals feel this way about coming to my bootcamp?!? Well, sister, I can totally relate to your trepidation!! But of course I consider bootcamp waaayyyyy easier than yoga at this point in my life…
Which brings me to my point: we need to push ourselves out of our comfort zones; in life, and most definitely in exercise. For example, if you do the same 30-minute program on the StairMaster for 5 years in a row, you will stop getting results. Like, 4 years and 9 months ago. Our bodies and our minds were created to respond to change, to adapt to our surroundings, to become stronger and more resilient in response to a challenge. If we allow ourselves to become too comfortable, we not only don’t progress, we begin to slip backwards.
Going to yoga was a big wake-up call for me! I had been telling myself that because no two bootcamps are the same, I’m getting a complete full-body workout every time. But now I have to admit that my weekly routine of bootcamp and HIIT cardio, even considering my weekend workouts of tennis and running, are not as much cross-training as I probably need. Everything I do is high-intensity, dynamic exercise, with no specific focus on static strength, control, or flexibility. I could use a hefty dose of all of those things!
Maybe I need to truly switch it up and re-invest in yoga or Pilates. “Quiet” exercise scares me a lot! But that’s probably the best reason of all to do it…
How do you switch it up and keep your body and mind challenged??