I have to go to work. I have to clean up my plate. I have to make good choices.
For many years, I thought this was how I was supposed to show up in the world. I didn’t know it was a choice.
When I discovered it was a choice, it changed my perspective from an obligation to a blessing.
I get to choose to eat healthily. I get to choose to love what I do. I get to choose to make good choices.
When I choose how I will live my life, life feels like an adventure, not a prison.
Whether it’s in the form of oxygen or blood flow, or in the form of joint pain or muscle tension, resistance creates strain on the body.
Everyone learns somewhere along their path that resistance does more harm than good.
Over the years, I asked to have my picture taken in particular yoga poses to see where I could improve alignment.
At one time, while a friend of mine was taking my photo, she noticed I was struggling to get into the posture and asked, why are you resisting?
I questioned, what makes you think I am resisting? She said, you are holding your breath. You should see the veins in your neck. I was not even aware I was tensing up, or holding my breath.
From that point on, I made it a point to monitor my breath, and observe how my body feels when moving in, holding, and moving out of a posture. Standing in front of a mirror makes it easy to detect when I have locked the door to air flow. My friends, the jugulars, just bulge right in.
Support is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it shows your strength.
If your body is not capabable of doing a pose without modification or support, don’t push yourself into the posture. You can create unnecessary strain or injury.
In my 20’s, while giving birth, I sustained injury to my lower back. Due to this injury there are some poses where I need modification, and or support. Malasana is one of those poses for me.
While in this posture, and without support, I have to lean forward I experience discomfort in my hips, and a strain on my ankles because I have to spread my feet out so far to hold myself up.
The support of a block will gradually ease the tightness in my hips, and provide me the release, and flexibility I need to sit up straighter, and eventually sit in Malasana without discomfort.
Don’t strain, it’s not worth the pain.
Today marks the half-way point.
If you too have set a new resolution for yourself, this is a reminder to give yourself kudos for sticking to your commitment thus far.
Its important to show yourself some lovin,’ or gratitude in the form of verbal affirmations, like, “Hey, I am proud of myself, I haven’t given up.”
I would not be where I am today without the decisions I have made to keep going, and neither would you. What we have accomplished so far is no small feat. We have proven that we are more powerful than the tales we have told ourselves in the past.
If you ever feel like quitting, remember the 21,600 moments you have already dedicated to change, and tell yourself, “all I have to do is commit to another moment and then another. I have a proven track record of success.”
The prize I am referring to is the process you must undergo to reach your goal. We are often so focused on the destination that when the going gets tough we want to bail.
The process is a moment to moment rededication to your goal.
When you set a goal, you make a commitment to reach your goal. The word “commitment” can feel intimidating because we are afraid we might fail.
There are days I feel overwhelmed when I think of the 30-day commitment I set in motion. But if I know I can rededicate at anytime, it reminds me I have a choice. I am not a victim of circumstance.
Balancing postures have always been my biggest challenge. I used to get so frustrated.
In this posture, I wobbled just raising one foot off the ground. If I could successfully get past the wobble, I hurried through the forward bend, and landed in a yoga pose called “Balancing Stick.” I was lucky if I could hold this pose for one to two seconds.
Learning to apply focus with each move was the key to locating a sense of balance. Standing on two feet, raising both arms above the head, and behind the ears, then bending at the hips while raising one leg behind you, and keeping the standing leg Quadracept and abdomen engaged, and continually coming forward until both the arms and the leg are parallel with the ground. Viola! . Never breaking focus is the magic! I am now able to hold this pose a good 30 seconds.
Focus is the key to success, not only on the mat, but off the mat too.
Center your attention on focus and watch the magic unfold.
A Commitment to anything is not always easy.
Commitment demands you exercise self-control.
It forces you to stretch outside your comfort zone, and compels you to relinquish old habits.
It plants seeds of awareness. and sheds light on the areas of your life that are ready to grow.
Before I made a commitment to my 30-Day Challenge, I was filling in all the dead spaces with wishes and desires for change. Yet, wishes and desires didn’t create change, commitment to action did. Action gives birth to transcendence.
Don’t take for granted the devotion you have given to your call to action.
You are where you are today because of a promise you made to yourself.
Give affectionate reverence to the one person who is showing up…YOU!
My physical commitment to change is only half the prize.
I am working towards something no one else can see but me.
This 30-day challenge has created a ripple effect both emotionally, and mentally too.
Physically, I am feeling better, and by default, my mental and emotional attitude has shifted. I am more present, and more calm, I also have less resistance, less restlessness, and I have more energy and desire to give to others.
The beauty of falling out of a posture is you get to work on letting go of your pride. When I have fallen out; I knocked over my neighbor who was beautifully poised in her posture, I have done a backward summersault into the wall when trying to get into a yogi squat, and I almost took my instructor down with me while he was supporting me in a balancing posture. Falling out may not look pretty and you may feel awkward, but when you go down, go down with the same amount of pride as you do when you successfully master a pose. Have fun, laugh and enjoy your practice because this is what will bring you back to the mat. Not an emotional flogging.
In 2015, I exercised very little. I remember the longer I went without exercising, the more I felt physically vulnerable. I didn’t like that feeling.
Having a regular exercise routine builds muscle mass and self- confidence.
The increased self-confidence I feel, is partially due to the decreased level of pain in my shoulders, elbows, hips and knees since I started this 30 day challenge.
I also felt strong enough to confront a life long fear of heights.
Today I was able to climb a tree and get into “tree pose.”