Truthfulness = Balance

In Yoga, there is a principal called satya, the practice of truthfulness. Now,
from what I know from many of my clients, yoga sometimes gets a bad rap for being slow, boring, and “not as good of a workout as lifting weights”. And I’ll admit, I thought that way too for a while.

But then I got pregnant. And I discovered yoga for what it really is. And believe me, it has nothing to do with long lean muscles (although that is a nice possible side-effect).

During the first three months of this little girl growing inside of me, she managed to make me nauseous and unavoidably exhausted every waking minute of the day, which as you can imagine (or have experienced) doesn’t leave you with much energy to brush your hair, much less lift weights.

I tried a few yoga classes in the past and never really took to them the way I did to Spinning, running, or lifting weights. It didn’t leave me utterly drained the way those things do, which made me believe that I was wasting my time. This time around though, because I
really couldn’t keep up with my old workout routines, I tried a few yoga DVDs on my own and loved the way it made me feel. On days I had barely any energy I did just some light stretching, but on days when I could muster it, and especially now, I do a more vigorous and flowing yoga that leaves me feeling energized, taller, and in a lightened mood (and actually out of breath). Not to mention, more open and flexible.

But the real power of yoga didn’t come to me until a few weeks ago.

In one of the DVDs, I heard this phrase: “there’s no ego in yoga”.

Think about that. We’re always comparing ourselves to others and basing our feelings of adequacy on what other people look like or can do. In a yoga class, where you’re so close to everyone, you might find yourself comparing your ability to hold a pose or do it perfectly based on how the instructor or your mat-mate is doing it. But it’s not about that.

And this is where satya comes in.

The principal of satya gives you the chance to experience an amazing quality of yoga. It allows you to experience your own truth, and essentially, not be perfect based on someone else, but to be your own kind of perfect. To do this, you need to honor your truth, which means you might not be able to contort yourself the way someone else can, or even simply open your hip as much as your yoga mat neighbor. That’s ok. Be honest about your own limits and adjust accordingly. If you can’t balance on one foot, balance on one toe. Do what you can. Eventually you will get there.
This will help you practice calmly, which will allow you to find balance not just in your poses, but in your life.

Even if yoga really isn’t your thing, think about practicing being truthful at work, on the subway, with your friends, and in the dressing room. Find your own place in this fast world. Be honest about yourself and you will find balance.

I Resolve To Not Resolve This Year

I hate the idea of New Years Resolutions. Every year we vow to do a million things that we think will change us. And, every year we look back on the last and see what we didn’t really make happen, and decide that this year will be different. This year things are going to change once and for all and we’re going to become fluent in Italian, take an art class, raise the perfect children, and of course, lose 15 pounds and become a walking billboard for swimsuits. It’s all just too much pressure to do in one year really. And for some reason we make these grandiose claims like we’re some sort of superheroes that can go from not speaking a word of Italian to becoming fluent. And on top of that we think that we can do the other 3 things on the list too. I don’t know about you, but the last time I checked there’s only 24 hours in a day. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t strive for things. You most definitely should. I just don’t think that you should put such an “I must or else…” attitude on it.

You need to set yourself up for success, not disappointment, and that’s why I think we should start a “Fitness Bucket List” instead. This is a list of things that you want to accomplish in your lifetime. Maybe you like the idea of running a marathon, but aren’t ready to do it. Instead of putting that down as a resolution for this year (who are you kidding, really…), put it on your bucket list, and then set a goal this year to run a 5k. That’s so much more manageable and will get the momentum going for running longer distances. And then maybe 2 years down the road you’ll have actually become a runner and the idea of going the full 26.2 miles won’t seem like such an impossibility.

Most of the time we quit things because it gets too hard to handle. And the reason it gets too hard to handle is because we put too much pressure on ourselves from the get go when we really should have been more realistic about our abilities.

The other great thing about a Fitness Bucket List is that it sets us up for a long-term mindset of living a healthier lifestyle. Resolutions always seem to be something that you accomplish once to check it off your list, but it has no staying power. For many who see a resolution through to completion end up slacking off after they’ve accomplished it. And then you know what happens? It goes right back on their list next year. And that only makes you feel worse. A Fitness Bucket List will keep you moving forward.

Here are some tips on creating your list:
1. Nothing is out of reach, so write down everything and anything that comes to mind (you can always erase things later).
2. Keep it positive. Instead of writing “get down to 130 pounds”, write down things that will help you get there, such as working out 3 times per week or getting 7 hours of sleep a night.
3. The word “fitness” relates to every aspect of your health, which means anything that you think will help create balance in your life. If that means taking more “me time” or doing something that you’ve been afraid of, then so be it!
4. It’s not set in stone. Remember that you can always change the list, so don’t be worried about writing what you really want.
5. Nothing is out of your reach. Many people say “I’m not a runner”, and to me that’s crazy. You might not run right now, but you can if you want. And you don’t have to log 20 miles a week to be considered a runner either. You just have to run.
6. Write down what YOU want, not what you think you should want, or what everyone else is doing.
7. Choose things that will empower you, not make you crazy.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and hear some of the things that you put on your list, so please share!