A Yoga Practice a Day Keeps the Doctor Away.

So it’s been forever since I’ve blogged, mostly because I haven’t had any time to.  Life has been insanely busy lately.  The problem is, I hear myself saying that a lot. Life is *always* insanely busy.  And I admit: I have a problem.  I chronically over-commit myself.  I always think I’ll have enough time to do xyz, but I never do.  As a result, I’m constantly living my life in a state of stress and guilt for not being productive enough, not getting enough done, not meeting deadlines, etc.  And as a result of that, the things that I do to take care of myself – to keep myself healthy, grounded, and calm – end up happening sporadically at best.

It’s a vicious cycle, isn’t it?  I get stressed out, so I sacrifice the very things that help relieve that stress in order to get “more important” things done, but because I’m not taking care of myself and I’m not on top of my game, I’m not as productive as I could be.  So then I’m more stressed out, which means that I continue to skip the me-time for the “more important” things, and the cycle continues.

This cycle has to stop.  I need to change.  I’m gaining weight; I feel awful; old injuries are rearing their ugly heads; old health problems are cropping back up.  It’s gotten to the point where I feel old again, even though I’m only in my early thirties, and once again I see my body as a collection of injuries and failures and limitations instead of strength, beauty, and ability.

As a behavior consultant, one of the big things I tell my clients is to not focus on what the learner can’t and shouldn’t do and instead teach the learner what they can and should do.  So why am I not doing the same thing for myself?  I know that I have certain injuries and limitations which prevent me from doing certain poses in yoga and which require me to put hooping and horseback riding on hiatus.  So what?  I can still focus on the poses that I can do.

I also need to set myself up to succeed by creating a more realistic goal for myself.  I can’t change the fact that sometimes life is so busy that I barely have time to breathe.  So no, it’s not realistic to expect myself to pull out my mat every day and do a full 90 minute practice.  But I can do three poses a day, whenever, wherever, mat or no.  One of my yoga teachers once said that one of her yoga teachers told her that if you can do nothing else, at least do trikonasana, uttanasana, and legs up the wall.  Five minutes.  Three poses.  I could do them right before bed, no big whoop.

Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)

Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)

Legs Up a Wall (Self-Explanatory)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So that’s the goal I’m setting for myself: to do yoga every day, those three poses at the very minimum.  For every month that I successfully do yoga every day, I’ll put at least $30 in my savings account.  At the end of next year (Dec 31, 2013), I’ll take all my saved up money and treat myself to something awesome. What that something awesome is will depend on how much money I’ve been able to save up.  Does anyone want to go in on this with me?  We can hold each other accountable.  We can be accountabilibuddies!

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Body Dysmorphic Disorder

So a thing happened at work this morning, and it seems silly to even bring it up, but though it’s small, I think it’s significant.

I was in the treatment area with a vet, a tech, and a receptionist (this sounds like the beginning of a terrible joke, but bear with me), and somehow the topic turned to our bodies.  They were talking about how and where they gain all their weight, the changes they’ve noticed in their bodies as they’ve started to age, etc.  I chimed in: “I hate how I’m built like the fucking Michelin Man.  I have these lumpy boobs, lumpy tummy, lumpy abdomen.  I look like a stack of freaking tires.”  The receptionist – whom, by the way, I think is totally gorgeous and has a beautiful body – looked at me with a flash of irritation and said, “Just… don’t.  Don’t even go there.”  At first, I didn’t understand why she was irritated.  Then, it happened.

There was this little pop in my vision.  Nothing in the room actually changed, but my perception of it did.  I am so used to being the fattest person in the room that I don’t even consciously think about it anymore.  No matter where I go or whom I’m interacting with (except for obviously, drastically, morbidly obese people), there’s always just this underlying assumption that I’m the fatty in the room.  I hadn’t really thought about it at this hospital where I’m working right now, but in that moment I realized that I’d still been thinking of myself as the fattest person there.  And then that little shift in perception happened.  I looked down at myself.  I looked around at the other women.  And then I realized: I am the thinnest person in the room.  And none of them are really overweight at all!  They’re quite lovely, actually!  But *that* was why she was irritated with me: I was being one of those obnoxious girls who is thinner than everyone in the room and complaining about how fat she is.  That was me.  Wait, what?  That was me? I was standing there in the midst of a mundane little conversation that happens every day, every where, among any given group of women, and my mind was exploding: I’m not fat anymore.

50 lbs.  I look at that number, and I understand it.  On a cognitive level, I know what that number means.  I know what it feels like to carry a 50 lb dog, so I can imagine what it is to take 50 lbs off my body.  But this is the first time that I’ve actually internalized it–that I can see myself without it.  Before this morning, I still saw a fat person.  Today, I see myself as I truly am.