Goals: Exercise

yoga6

I’ve said this before, but…  BEST.  YOGA.  CLASS.  EVER.

At my gym, there is a girl named April who usually teaches yoga on Mondays.  Generally, I can’t go on Mondays.  But when I do…oh my word.  The difference might be the flow.  April is very focused on making everything flow.  We move slowly, and we do hold poses, but something is always moving.  Even if we are holding, we are reminded to move by breathing.  I read somewhere that in the western world, we use hatha yoga, the movement and pose element of yoga, as a form of exercise unto itself.  And it is wonderful for the body.  But in the eastern world, where yoga was born, hatha yoga is just a preparation for meditation.  Tonight in class, I really felt that.  The meditation at the end was too short.  It was, maybe, two minutes long.  I needed at least ten, I think!  I really think, physiologically, it’s similar to “runners’ high” when meditation feels so good after yoga.  You’ve pushed your body to the limit for almost an hour, and it releases all these feel-good things in your body.

Which leads me too…

Why should I exercise?  First and formost, it feels so good!  It feels good to have pushed your body to the limit.  It feels good when you discover your limits have grown after a period of consistent hard work.  It releases all those feel-good chemicals and makes you feel happy.  Also, it’s good for you.  It makes you healthier.  It prevents, improves, or cures every single health problem out there.  (Can you think of a health problem that wouldn’t be helped or prevented by exercise?  I can’t.  Not everything can be cured, of course, but a strong healthy body is better able to cope with anything that it faces.)  Personally, I sleep better, and I need less sleep, and I have more energy during the day when I am consistently exercising.  And of course, not so important but somewhat motivating, you look better when you exercise!

How can I build a good habit of exercising?  Well, one major roadblock for me is hunger.  I can’t exercise comfortably when I’m hungry, and I can’t exercise comfortably when I’ve just eaten.  If I’m hungry I tend to just skip it, or it is torture to go suffer through a workout hungry.  So whenever I decide to exercise, I have to plan ahead to be able to eat something a little before my workout.  Another major roadblock, for everyone I assume, is time.  When do you exercise?  Whenever I choose to exercise, I need to be prepared.  Have my clothes with me, if I’m going to the gym on the way home from work.  Have my clothes planned and probably laid out and ready if I’m doing it in the morning or right after work at home.  If it’s too inconvenient, I won’t do it.  So the plan has to include ways to make it as convenient and automatic as possible. 

I like the idea of working out first thing in the morning.  Get it done for the day, feel good first thing, take one shower and be done with showering for the day.  But I’ve never been able to turn this into a reality.

Also, the reality of life means there is no single perfect plan that will work every day.  My goal is to do something active every day.  I have to plan ahead, continually.  Sometimes there is a social event that counts, like ultimate frisbee or our indoor winter activities, or even ice skating or something.  Sometimes a yoga class fits into my schedule.  Sometimes, if the weather is nice, I want to take Pal for a long walk.  But it’s the rest of the days, when I have to plan for something for myself, that are difficult.  It’s so easy to know, in the summer, my friends are going to frisbee, so I’ll find some workout clothes and go to frisbee.  It’s more difficult when it’s more my own responsibility.  It’s not so automatic.  It takes effort and planning.  But if I put a priority on it, and make a plan, and do those practical things that will overcome those roadblocks, it will be well worth it.

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