It’s another awesome milestone for A Dude Abikes, five years of consecutive bendy-ness! Simultaneously remarkable and by now, just another day on the mat, it’s too momentous on occasion to not write about, even though this is predominantly a blog about bicycling. It’s also about my health journey, and yoga is an important part of that. A new blogger and follower who is curiously named uptightprettygirl said she found me by searching for blogs about yoga. That and my yogaversary made me realize that one reason I keep writing about my practice is to keep inspiring myself. Another is to inspire people who also do not fit the mold of a skinny, muscled, super-bendy young man or woman (aka fathlete) but whose bodies can definitely benefit from yoga. Inside this post you will find a few pearls of wisdom about yoga and how it can help you Or maybe those are crumbs. Yes, definitely crumbs of some useful information.
Yogaversaries Pose a Problem: To Brag or Not to Brag?
For the anniversaries since starting this blog, I’ve done these posts:
- Two years ago today, I wrote about my three year anniversary in 1,096 Days (3 Years) of Daily Yoga Practice 12/6/16: Boy Is My Assana Tired!.
- After four years and a month, I wrote My 1,500 Consecutive Days of Yoga: Everyone Knows It’s Bendy.
- And at four and a half years, I posted 4.5 Years of Daily Yoga Practice: How It Helps My Bicycling and Can Help Yours
They are interesting for several reasons but one thing they share in common: I’m always reluctant to do these post because it feels like bragging. I mean, me doing something every day for a month was a miracle. That I’ve made it for five fucking years, every goddamn day is well, simply incredible. Sorry for the cursing, but unless you have some similar streak going, you probably have no bloody idea how hard it’s been. And I’m not sure I can tell you the secret. But here is how it happened, or rather how I made it happen for me, in a nutshell. DISCLAIMER: Your mileage may vary, I’m not a doctor, and I’m not advising you do anything without your doctor’s approval.
How To Do Yoga Every Day – NO MATTER WHAT
- December 2012: I accepted a 15-day yoga challenge from my sister-in-law.
- I finished the challenge but didn’t continue regular, though went to classes occasionally.
- The next year, I found a 28-day “Boost Your Willpower” program on Yoga Journal, which I scheduled to end on New Year’s Day to psyche myself out of having to make a resolution, because I would have already been doing it for a month.
- Halfway through the program, I just left my mat out on the floor and did my own poses. (I had the advantage of having taken classes over the years and for one summer I lived at a yoga center.)
- Upon completing the four weeks, I noticed I was feeling better in various ways and was also afraid that if I stopped I wouldn’t start again, so I DON’T STOP FOR ANYTHING, NO MATTER WHAT!
That’s it! Sounds simple right? Maybe, but it has not been easy. On that last point in all caps: I often have to adapt the yoga to my (low) energy level. And if I’ve been injured, I work around it. When seated or lying on the mat, there are plenty of poses to do. But I just have 30′ blocked out on my calendar indefinitely. I make the time, even if it means I have to take a power nap in sivasana before doing asana. Sometimes I get less sleep but yoga is restorative so I think it works out. I do have to skip social things, bike a little less, or watch one fewer television show. Sacrificing that time for ME is worth it. There is something that comes from knowing I have, can and will do this practice as long as possible. It’s like a valuable and powerful gift I give myself. Maybe even a little gold ring. You could even call it… My Precious.
That’s Great, A Dude, But Will It Work for ME?
The methods I used probably wouldn’t work for alot of people. I don’t have a spouse, kids or pets, so my time is my own to schedule or fritter away (I do both). I don’t have a high-powered job, or travel much. Right now I barely have a job at all, actually. But even when I did and will again soon, I just knew/know that at some point in the day, yoga mat and I had/have a date for 30 minutes.
If the answer FOR YOU is doing yoga once a week in a fancy class you pay too much for, then go for it. (I actually met Bikram once and he was a class A a-hole.) If a daily practice is what you want, how realistic is it? If you live with other people, will they join you? If not, will they at least support you? Maybe three times a week for 15′ minutes will work. How about doing little bits of yoga throughout the day, as one of my teachers Abby of Heartfelt aka Heavyweight Yoga calls it, “Sprinkle Yoga”? Go for marginal gains, do what you can.
For me, if I have to miss a day or more for a serious medical or other reason, it’s not the end of the world. I will try to do some sort of mindful movement with attention on the breath. If I can’t do that, maybe only pranayam or meditation. And if I’m unconcious, I’ll just pick it up as soon as I can. It’s really the ego that’s proud of the accomplishment. The real question is “Am I benefiting?” Well, I believe so. I’m not progressing as much I’d like because I don’t go to classes and challenge myself. But I do yoga for its own sake, and also to (try to) reduce stress and to be able to keep biking. I trust in the process.
Rosemary – Some Sage, Thymely Advice (Yum, Parsley!)
On my five years yogaversary, I meant to get to a free class, but it was raining and I didn’t feel up for it. So I watched a Happy Birthday video by Yoga with Adriene. She lives here but has a few YouTube followers…. 4 million plus, to be exact. She’s great, very accessible, and so far hasn’t paid me a dime to promote her and probably never will. Just kidding A, we love you! I must say that I’m grateful to all my teachers over the years, too many to mention, but the notable ones have been Annie and Maya (Vermont), Anisa and Kathleen (Seattle), Yoganand and Indukanta (Massachusetts), and Abby and Adriene (Austin). There are plenty of classes, videos, books and more out there, if you want to try it. The pearl I will leave you with is this:
Yoga will only work for you if you work at yoga.
That is all for this post, except for here’s a link to a video by Yoga with Adriene of Yoga for Cyclists. Namaste.
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