Seventh Pocket of Joy: Yoga (Well, challenging my assumptions and goals)

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Anyone who knows me knows that historically I have not loved yoga. In fact, I have openly shared my dislike of yoga on TV; one of my segments is framed around yoga “not being my jam.”

So, how can yoga be something that gives me joy, you ask?

Good question.

Well, it does … and it doesn’t.

The act of challenging my assumptions and meeting a goal gave me joy.

Yoga? Joy? My tolerance is still roughly 20 minutes. (Up from about 5 … so trending positive. Trending positive gives me joy!)

The backstory

Backstory Part 1: I have always enjoyed some aspects of yoga. Well, more like a few moves; my “runner’s ankles and hips” salivate while doing the downward dog and the lunge stretches. My problem has been that I didn’t love yoga enough to dedicated 60 to 90 minutes plus travel time to a class. I always said to myself that I would “stretch and do a few of my favourite poses after every run.” The problem is that when I am done running I am a sweaty mess and just want to shower. Basically, my plan failed, and not only did I not do yoga, I did not stretch enough and thus my ankles and hips got tighter not more mobile. BAD Kathleen!!

Backstory Part 2: I like challenging my assumptions about myself and life. Plus, I am well aware that when it comes to fitness people often dislike stuff they are not good at. I am not great at yoga. About a month ago I had a thought: “Kathleen, do you actually dislike yoga or have you not really given it the old college try? Maybe you think you are not a yoga person based on unfair stereotypes of ‘yogis’ and assumptions regarding your identity. STOP being so silly. Give it a real try. Then if you still don’t like it you can lean in to not liking it.”

I challenged myself to “21 days of yoga.” I figured that after 21 days I would know if I disliked it, disliked being bad at it, liked it, or still didn’t love it but found that the benefits outweighed my dislike. I found a 21-day challenge online — each workout was 22 minutes. I figured I could handle 22 minutes.

The results

  • I still don’t love it enough to dedicate 2 hours to getting to and from a class.
  • I like having something to watch that is specific in duration (so I don’t just stop after a minute) and a teacher to guide me. I often made substitutions, but it was nice having a starting point.
  • I feel better after 21 days of doing dedicated mobility work.
  • I have to dedicate 10 to 20 minutes a day to mobility work — it can be yoga, stretching, or dynamic motion — but it has to be DONE.
  • As usual, I get SUCH JOY from having a goal and a personal challenge!!