Thursday, April 04, 2013

Ultimate Yoga - Flexibility

Today was my first attempt at dusting off my Ultimate Yogi DVDs. I (stupidly) attempted to start this program way before I should have and realized on the second day that I was in over my head. It's been another month or so of recovering from neck surgery and today I decided to try another one of these videos. I'm not sure how my logic is working because I wanted a change from the 30 minute yoga routine that I've been regularly doing because it has been causing me a lot of pain. As if this session would be any less painful.

At least I was smart about which video I picked. So far I did video #1 Cross Training, and then I tried video #2 Cardio (and that one about killed me). Video #3 was Strength and there was no way I was attempting that one any time soon. I don't need another reminder of how weak I am! So I ultimately (pun intended) picked Flexibility. I thought maybe I could handle that one and figured it would be good for my already-sore-from-running muscles.

I was pleasantly surprised and delighted by the entire experience. I really liked the entire session. It's broken into two basic parts. The first part is standing stretches and asanas and the second part is mat work and deeper stretches. During the first half I came to an incredible realization that was, well . . . life changing. I entered into this yoga session today with positively no expectations of completing it, nor even doing a particularly good job. I was simply looking for a change of pace and something that "might not hurt as much." I knew at the start that I would modify as much as I needed and, if I had to quit, that would be OK. I wouldn't consider myself a weak failure and if all I got from this hour was material to blog about then it was still a success. That's when it hit me.

My whole life I've been an over-achiever. I'm not a competitive person at all and never care about winning a game, a race, or anything that involves other people. But when it comes to myself, that's another story. I have to know that my current run was faster than my last run, that I climbed the hill in a higher gear than I did last time, or the amount of weight on my barbell was greater than last time. I have a never-ending desire to better myself and for some reason I always feel that I have to be better, faster, stronger than what is expected of me.

I remember back to all my P90X sessions. I paid close attention to the weights that the girls in the video were using and I had to make sure that my weights at least matched theirs (preferably I would lift even more). In every exercise video I ever did, I felt the need to do more. If the leader suggested alternate moves to "give you more challenge" well, that was a no-brainer. I HAD to go the more aggressive route. I don't even know why. I guess I always felt that it was essential if I wanted to sell myself as a "fitness expert."

Well today, for the first time in my life, I took all that pressure off myself. I realized that my neck surgery may have been the best thing that ever happened to me. Now I finally have an excuse (because for some reason I felt that I needed one) to just be a normal regular person. It's OK that I'm weak and it's OK that I'm going to "do the best I can."

And with that new outlook I completely enjoyed the yoga session. Sure I had to "cheat" a little and no I wasn't always as flexible as I needed to be . . . but it was amazingly OK. I finally accepted that I don't always need to over-achieve and that was the most refreshing enlightening experience to date. Thank you Ultimate Yogi for giving me this gift!

I will continue to hunt and peck for videos that I think I can get through. I'm not yet ready to take on "The Ultimate Challenge" but I will thoroughly enjoy doing what I can.

For more information on the Ultimate Yogi 108 Day Yoga Challenge, please click here.

No comments: