A Year of Yoga
It’s like he’s on a crusade, but to somewhere boring, and we all have to come.
I’ve been doing yoga classes for a year now. That sounds like the start of a boring crusade, but I’m happy with the milestone as it’s the longest I’ve ever stuck to a form of exercise. It’s also the first time I’ve done exercise for my mind, rather than body. In a year of big changes - moving house, new job, new housemate - I needed to do something to feel grounded. Ironic… that after teaching a class called The Calm Kitchen, I needed to calm my own busy little brain. Yoga is a challenge for an over-thinker. It’s about quietening your mind, observing your thoughts, and doing these things without getting restless. I’ve been thinking about what makes something stick and become a regular practice.
I’ve gotten a lot out of doing yoga, but I haven’t fallen in love with it. There have been classes where I’ve floated out, feeling serene, like a person who does yoga. Other times, I’ve just gone through the motions. But I know that me sticking with it is not down to my enjoyment of it, or not. I keep going because I know it’s good for me, and for my back pain. I always feel better after a class, even if I didn’t enjoy it.
It’s a practical exercise in mindfulness. How long can I pay attention to my body for, without getting caught up in my thoughts? Creating a habit is about blocking out the negative self-thought that will always pop up as a form of resistance. So now when I’m debating in my head if I’ll go to a class, I grab the mat and go before I can talk myself out of it.
Some days you want to run and you resist every step of the three miles, but you do it anyway. You practice whether you want to or not. You don’t wait around for inspiration and a deep desire to run. It’ll never happen, especially if you’re out of shape and avoiding it. But if you run regularly, you train your mind to cut through or ignore your resistance.
You just do it.
Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg.