Friday, March 4, 2011

FindingTthe Yoga Mindset

I've done a few different yoga classes over the years but, the most extensive experience I have with it is the Yoga X workout in P90X. This is a tough hour and a half workout. It begins with a little warming up and stretching. Then, it moves in to an increasingly difficult series of vinyasas or pose sequences. This is followed by a segment including some intensive stretching, core strengthening and balance poses. Finally, it ends with a few minutes of relaxation poses and ohms. Although I've done this workout many times I continue to feel challenged and there are still a few moves I have not completely mastered.

Most of the time when I workout the pace is much faster than in yoga. Cardio is all about moving quickly to get your heart rate up. Strength training is a little calmer than cardio but there's still a sense of perpetual movement. This is true when I work out on my own and even more so when working out to a video or taking a class. So, it's no surprise that when I went to do yoga, I had the impulse to move at my usual workout pace.

Yoga does not work that way. Even when you are moving in yoga doing vinyasas the pace is still relatively slow. A lot of the time is actually spent not moving at all. Yet, while you're not moving you're holding some pose or other that feels incredibly unnatural. Your muscles are working to hold the poses and being impatient wondering when it's going to end, and how much longer you have to stay still, does not help. In fact, it makes it much harder.

The thing I finally "got" the last time I did Yoga X was to be patient. I'm not sure how I missed it all the times I did yoga before. I knew intellectually that I was supposed to feel centered and calm doing yoga but, I never felt it. I was never able to internalize it. There was always an undercurrent of anxiousness, nervous energy and, well,  impatience before. Being patient in yoga means letting go the need to rush and get it done. It means not worrying about what you're doing next and just paying attention to what you're doing in that moment.

I'm not sure why it clicked for me this time. So, I'm looking forward to the next yoga workout to see if I can do it again. Mainly because it was a much more enjoyable experience that way. Also, because I know I got a lot more out of it. So, instead of dreading the yoga workout, I might actually start looking forward to it. Imagine that.

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