Recently I decided to simply give up on my resistance to yoga and surrender into doing it as an active lifestyle choice. It’s simply the most effective and manageable regular exercise I am able to do, regardless of the fact that I don’t enjoy it, nor do I look forward to it – I simply enjoy having done it.
I should put forth one caveat: I do not have a yoga teacher. I do not attend yoga classes (remember, I am a traveling man, and plus there aren’t any studios convenient to my house).
This means I really shouldn’t say I have a “yoga” practice, as there is no way I can get the full experience that this physical and spiritual practice embodies. What I can do is connect with the many, many people on YouTube who provide guided physical workouts.
So let’s call it You-ga instead.
Strengthening my You-ga Practice
When I decided to take the practice more seriously, I looked at three main goals that I hoped to achieve in the following week:
- I wanted to make sure my You-ga was a daily practice, even when I was traveling, and even when I didn’t feel like it.
- I wanted to explore longer and deeper workouts, trying out the forty-five minute or hour-long You-ga programs to try and actually build my flexibility and muscle.
- I wanted to try and find ways to enjoy the You-ga workouts, or at least find a way to look forward to them.
To help make this happen, I took the following steps:
- When Natasha and I recently traveled to Chicago and Ohio, we made a point of bringing the big cushy yoga mat. It was awkward, it was gigantic, and the hope was that those would make it just ridiculous to procrastinate.
- I set a goal of two one-hour You-ga workouts, preferably strength-building because I’m a vain man at heart and wish I looked like Rodney Yee.
- I started looking for things I enjoyed that I could combine with You-ga, like selfies for during the practice or “treats” that I could chain to the habit to help me anticipate it more eagerly. I had done that successfully with coffee and journaling, and thought it might be a workable tactic for this goal.
There it was: my week’s strategy and the tactics to get me there.
How’d I do?
Winning the Battle, But the Fight Goes On
It’s been a week, and there’s some good news! I have, in fact, done You-ga (and, in one case where I didn’t have my iPad handy, self-directed yoga) every day, even on Sunday when I was tired as a dog from presenting classes the day before and schmoozing with conference attendees into the wee hours of the night about the joys of formal dinners. That particular habit is pretty much engrained in my mornings, and doesn’t really take any willpower. I just stumble over my mat and fall into lizard pose, basically.
The one-hour workouts are a slightly more cloudy victory, because while I did do them, they were both Yin Yoga workouts (Yin You-ga, really) which were wonderful and exactly what I needed after long drives…but were not the strength-building sweatbusters I had envisioned.
And as for the third goal…I tried an automated timer on my phone that would snap pictures, but while it works, it also distracts from the practice itself. And trying to chain visiting my favorite website to the practice itself is kind of a mixed bag…it works, sort of, but I don’t feel a direct connection yet.
All of which means that right now, at least, my You-ga practice is still not where I want it to be. Does this mean I’m giving up? Nope. Nor does it even mean I’m doing it wrong. It simply means that the goal I’ve set, the place I’m trying to get to, is not here now.
That’s ok. There’s plenty of You-ga to spare, and I’ve got time.
See you on the mat, You-gis!