Can you breathe?

People sometimes tell me that they are too stiff to do yoga. Usually they come to that conclusion after pointing out they can’t reach their toes. I’m not sure where, when and how the toe touching became the standard unit of measurement for your ability to do yoga, but it sure is out there.
We can probably blame the internet… somehow.

The interesting thing is that for a lot of us chair-bound-bum-sitting westerners, bending down from standing to touch your toes – with good form/alignment – can be a pretty advanced move. Especially for my athletic friends, the runners, swimmers and triathletes. The short hamstrings nation.  Now please note that running in and of itself does not cause short hamstrings, but improper running form and/or overload in training can surely contribute.
So why is it that the same people, who totally get that training and conditioning is required to run a sub 20 5k (that’s damn fast for you non-runners), don’t think that “training” yoga (aka practicing) would in a similar manner yield improvements? And maybe even one day a reunion with those elusive toes.

I’m not sure. Maybe they aren’t keen on yoga, and it’s a handy way out. Or maybe it’s the competitiveness that won’t allow them to come in and be beginners at something? There are many reasons for choosing not to go to class – but not being able to touch your toes shouldn’t be the one to keep you from practicing.

And maybe I’m just bitter about the toe thing because mine are gradually disappearing from view. Properly aligned forward bends are already a thing of the past, now modified heavily with a chair, and a block. Sigh. But – they still feel oh-so-good, and the little one starts kicking up a storm after a few standing poses – and that is fun :)

To conclude, you are not sure if you can do yoga or not, just ask yourself “can I breathe?”.  If the answer is yes, you are good to go :)


The curious state of motivation

I’d love to be a gazelle on this trail

In order to be, you have to do.

This inconvenient truth continues to slap me in the face.
As an example, I’d like to be a runner. The kind that laces up their shoes (or not, if you are the barefoot kind) and then takes off with the grace of a gazelle, where the miles effortlessly tick by. I’d really like that. In order to get to the gazelle state, I’m told one has to commit to a regular running schedule, with gradual increases in time/distance.
I’ve tried. I’ve signed up for all kinds of races to help motivate me. Each time, I put in a carefully calculated volume that allows me to a) survive and b) not look completely like death at finish.  That part is important.  But I never seem manage to stick with it much past that finish line.

Is because I actually don’t desire to do the work, just want the results? I don’t know.
Is it because I’m a Vata (great starters, suck at follow through)? I don’t know that either.
And at the end of the day, does it even matter?  Well, that’s what I’d like to find out….

Until then, an imperceptible nod to Running. Perhaps we shall meet again.