Back on May 30, 2019, I wrote a post titled 2,000 Consecutive Days of Yoga: Oh Yes, I Did It! Now I’ve come to another round number, over a year later. As of October 28, 2020 (my mother’s birthday — congratulations to her for her milestone!), I completed 2,500 days of yoga in a row. I began on December 6, 2013, but since I had to take two days off a few weeks later, my true anniversary is Christmas Day. I didn’t begin tracking it until several years later with Insight Meditation Timer. It took many years after spending a summer at a yoga center, but I finally developed a regular yoga practice and somehow, miraculously, have stuck with it. Starting streaks and maintaining them is kinda what we do here at A Dude Abikes, so grab your sticky mat and stick with me while we talk about my sticking with yoga.
Like my other daily practices, which currently includes over a year of daily biking, almost three years of daily walking, daily writing, and daily avoiding virtually all non-whole grain products (pasta, bread, cake, cookies, crackers, pizza, flour of all kinds except almond), I keep doing it because I get something out of it. So far I am still a fathlete, but a doctor recently said I’m as healthy as a horse. (Not the kind of horse they shoot, I trust.) Yoga, at least the physical aspect of it, has been like a secret weapon for my biking, which is currently 21 miles a day, just about every day. It helps me relax my muscles which are especially tight after bike rides. Maybe super power is a better word for it, since nonviolence is one of the values and practices of yoga, and Gandhi overthrew India with that approach.
I’ve said it before and will say it again now: yoga is good for (a lot of) what ails you. But it’s not just about making the physical body feel better. By doing the postures with breathing and mindfulness, one can gain a sense of calm, feelings of peace, and something deeper. It’s rather difficult to describe. Words that come close are: centered, confident, okayness, self-acceptance, flow, and focused. This state of being doesn’t last too long after mat time, and it can come and go, but I can bring it back with some breathing or more mindful awareness. It’s a sensation that you can get from other activities, too, from biking, waslking, swimming or rowing, to reading, writing, painting or sewing. Pick your practice, and do it mindfully with better breathing, and you will improve and also be more relaxed.
I’m not pushing yoga on you. Some people find it to be not for them. Tai chi or Pilates or dance work better for some. But sometimes that’s just because you may have a yoga teacher who is not working at your level, or you try a program or video that’s too advanced. To remedy that, I’d recommend you try Yoga With Adriene. A YouTube star with 8 million subscribers and counting, she lives here in Austin. I actually met Adriene met at SXSW two years ago. She embodied what she teaches by being very genuine in her presentation. She put her left hand on top of my right as we shook. That was heart melting — that’s a good word for how yoga can help on so many levels.
Yoga works for me, but only because I do it. If you don’t do it, it doesn’t work.-me
Some people push themselves too hard in yoga, overdo it, hurt themselves, and then give up. Not this dude. My daily practice continues to be pretty mellow. I do lots of seated postures, from pigeon to wind-reliever, knee-down twist, knee-to-nose, and more. If I’m feeling spicy, I’ll do some sun salutations (even though one shouldn’t at night because it can be too invigorating), tree pose, cobra, downward dog, and more. Cycling is predominantly a leg-based sport, but the whole body is of course involved, so you need to do the six movements of the spine every day. It’s all connected. I know this because of that song, “The leg bone is connected to the… hi bone, the hi bone is…”
In the end, I stick with it because by now it’s so ingrained that to miss it would feel simply… wrong. If “but a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,” well, I don’t mind that pejorative moniker. Yoga works for me, but only because I do it. If you don’t do it, it doesn’t work. I leave the mat out and it beckons. Even when I don’t feel like doing it, I get on that mat. Every. Single. Day. Whether I’m getting the results I “should” is immaterial. I don’t care. I simply do it. Or maybe the yoga does me. Someday maybe I’ll be forced to break the chain, or end my streak. But as long as I am able, I intend to #DontBreakTheChain and to keep practicing.
And a practice is certainly what it is. There’s no one guiding or grading me. Always learning. That’s why lawyers and doctors call their businesses practices, too. I’ve been at it long enough, maybe I should have an MD or JD of yoga degree by now. And as we all know, practice makes perfect. Until then, you may wish to heed the wise words of Madonna Louise Ciccione aka Madonna (who is well known for doing all kinds of yoga):
Don't just stand there, let's get to it Strike a (yoga) pose, there's nothing to it.
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