Exercise – Find What Works For You

My M.U.D. Life is all about living your best life.  It’s about becoming the best version of yourself that you can be by making Mindful Unique Decisions every day.  It’s about embracing your Unique journey through life, and making Decisions that can propel you forwards.  But sometimes, you can trip up and make a decision that can send you backwards.  That’s why it’s so important to cultivate the strength to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, refocus, and keep striving to make those positive steps forward.

Last month I tried embracing a 30-Day yoga challenge to kick off the New Year.  I had tried this same program in the past and had bad results.  I have discussed on my blog my battles with exercise bulimia, and my tendency to overdo and obsess over exercise.  A few years ago when I tried the 30-Day yoga challenge, my obsession with exercise became evident and I ended up needing my husband and my mother to help me stop and refocus.  It’s been two years since that incident, so I thought I could try a 30-Day yoga challenge again.  Maybe I was stronger mentally this time and could do it.  Unfortunately, that didn’t turn out to be the case.

I started the 30-Day yoga challenge with the mindset of I was doing this for me, and I wasn’t going to become competitive with myself.  Unfortunately, after a few days I found myself obsessing again.  I felt like I couldn’t miss a day of doing yoga.  And when I tried to say, “Ok, I am taking today as a skip day and will rest” I found myself getting really anxious and just wanting to roll my mat out.  I found myself pushing myself into positions I shouldn’t have been doing due to my scoliosis, and I found myself not listening to my body.  Luckily, this time, I realized without anyone else having to step in that I was heading into very bad territory.

So, I made myself stop.  I tried to reanalyze what I was doing and asked myself, “Why am I doing this 30-Day yoga challenge?”  I realized that a 30-Day yoga challenge probably isn’t the best thing for me.  I get too competitive with myself.  I also realized that I don’t treat yoga like it should be treated.  I love yoga.  It’s supposed to be a good way to relax, unwind, and tune into your body.  Unfortunately, I treat yoga in an unhealthy way, and I know this is something I have to work on.

I realized that my yoga journey should be for me and only for me.  It should be a way that I can connect with my body and ground myself in a healthy way.  It should be a way I go deeper into myself and calm myself.  It should not be a competition.  And I realized that, for me, I need to approach yoga in a gentle way.  My spine is unique.  My circumstances are unique.  And because of this, if I need to approach yoga as more of a floor based, slow set of exercises and standing postures, than that’s ok.  Because this is my yoga journey.  I don’t need to do tons of vinyasas to do yoga.  I can do what’s right for me.  What feels right for my body.  And if that’s breathing, taking my time between poses, and feeling that good stretch, than that’s perfectly fine.  If anything, undertaking the 30-Day yoga challenge this time helped me to open my eyes to what I want and what I need.  And a 30-Day yoga challenge is not that.

So right now I am trying to reanalyze how to approach yoga in a healthy way so I can be successful in this very powerful practice.  Because I do know yoga is good for me.  I just need to change my relationship with it.

As a teenager another form of exercise I used to embrace was mat-based Pilates.  Again, it was something that I took to a very extreme, unhealthy level, and would obsess over.  A few years ago I decided to try Pilates again and found a DVD by Gaiam called Easy Pilates with Ana Caban.  This DVD approached Pilates in a very gentle, slow way and actually, I never seemed to get obsessive over it.  So today, I decided to dig out that DVD and try doing some Pilates to see how I did.  And you know what?  This DVD still worked for me.  I didn’t push myself.  I didn’t try to do things I knew I shouldn’t do.  I took it slow, breathed, and stretched.  And when the DVD was done, I felt good.  Maybe for now, until I can figure out how to do yoga again, I should do this DVD when I want to stretch and connect with my body.  The approach of this DVD doesn’t set me up for failure, which I think is great.  It’s a way to do Pilates that actually works for me.

Exercise is so important.  It’s not only good for your body, but also your mind.  But, it needs to be done in a healthy way, and I’m still trying to discover that balance for myself.  I think by doing the Easy Pilates DVD today was a step in the right direction for me.  I need to keep building upon my successes and find what works for me and will set me up for success.

My M.U.D. Life is all about taking your successes and building upon them.  Find what is right for you and embrace your Unique journey.


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