Yoga Blocks and Motivation

People frequently ask me "how I stay so motivated".

It’s true, I’m a pretty high energy person (the people in my life right now are laughing at my use of understatement), but I’m definitely not always motivated.  I was thinking about this yesterday because Skwigg answered this question for the second time on her blog and I liked her answer the second time around just as much as I did the first. 

She says it best, so I’ll leave it in her words:

Q: How do you stay motivated and on track? I tend to lose steam on a new program after the first week or two.

A: Motivation, as in being all rah-rah excited, doesn’t happen to anybody, or if it does, it’s fleeting. I’m not motivated to workout. I do it both because it needs to be done and because I’m emotionally invested in it. Very much like bathing and brushing my teeth. I may not always enjoy the process or the time it takes, but I do it at the start of every day because it makes me feel good about myself and gives me confidence. I don’t want to be all scary and stinky and have people run from me. :-) However, at no point do I feel "motivated" to haul myself out of bed in the morning and get in the shower. I just do it and don’t entertain the idea that I might not. I’m someone who bathes. You can be someone who exercises. It’s just that matter-of-fact.

In the beginning, until your cruise control kicks in, you can focus on the emotional investment part of it. Find a dream or aspiration that you want to make real and then spend as much time as possible visualizing your new life. How will it feel? What will you look like? What will you wear? What will people say? What will you do? What will you eat? What will your day be like? That’s powerful stuff because it creates the mental shift necessary to pull off just about anything. Without the mental shift, you can make as many lame-ass attempts as you want, but nothing will ever stick. Your mind has to change before your body can. You have to know that this new reality is possible, and you’ll know it’s possible because you’ll see it every day in your head.

Her point about making the mental shift is crucial.  In 2001 I felt like I wanted to "get fit" so I started a relationship with a trainer at 24 hour fitness.  I wasn’t really ready, though, and he knew it.  I didn’t last long.  I wasn’t committed enough.  My mind hadn’t changed at all – I’d just been reading too many fashion magazines.

I love the comparison to personal hygiene and her comment that she does not entertain the idea that she "might not". I’m not always the bouncy, screaming, dancing, jumping cheerleader that I am at a ‘cross race when I’m watching the Mens C race.  Sometimes I’m a slow-moving, sleepy-eyed grogg-monster dreading the idea of prying myself out of bed to go watch Tony Horton boss me around in his little yoga pajamas.

I still get up and go do it. 

Yoga isn’t what I’m good at.  It doesn’t excite me the way that lifting arms and shoulders does, but that’s exactly the reason that I have to stick with it.  I’m working on my weaknesses.  I’m doing the hard work.

Speaking of which, its time to get at it.  I finally broke down and bought a yoga block this week.  The "Yoga X" video is more advanced than anything I’ve ever done and last week I was left in the dust about 50 minutes into the 90 minute session.

My ego hates the yoga block, but I have a feeling my hammies are going to love it.  I plan to spend less time in child’s pose today.

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2 comments

  1. blocks are cool but you can often times just use your leg(s) as a “prop” instead. In things like triangle, fwd fold, side angle. In balance poses like 1/2 moon and standing split though they come in much more handy. :)

    ps-found some of your comments to my blog way back from summer! “HI!”

  2. I love yoga. If your experience with yoga is limited to videos, I strongly encourage you to take some classes. I think you’ll enjoy it a lot more.

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