Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Listening to Your Body: Going for the Long Run Instead of the Now

For the last week and a half, my yoga practice looked, on paper, very boring. During the past week and a half, I did Rodney Yee's AM Yoga. Everyday. For a week and a half. And it was just what my body was asking me for. I just had to listen to it.

AM Yoga is what I call a 'Relax-y Stretchy' practice. Not too physically taxing, probably doesn't burn a lot of calories, but very beneficial nonetheless.

One day about two weeks ago, I was feeling really drained. The thought of doing any kind of yoga was not really what I wanted to think about. Was I burning out? Would I be able to continue this project? I wanted to sit on the couch. Rest. Sleep. Anything but Downward Dog or Push-up Pose.

So I did what I usually do when I'm feeling that way. I did AM Yoga. Most of AM Yoga takes place while lying down. It's so non-taxing that I can keep a heavy hoodie on the whole time. And thick socks. There's only one downward facing dog and you only stand up once. Perfect. Thank you Rodney Yee!

The next day, I felt the same way- so AM Yoga made a reappearance. Same with the day after that. Once I regained more energy, I was ready for something new, but then I pulled something in my shoulder (not yoga related) and couldn't lift my arm over my head without pain- so AM Yoga it was again. At that point, with more energy, I wanted to do something more athletic- I had calories to burn after all!

"You're going to get out of shape!", my brain told me. "All you eat is- as we speak- GOING TO YOUR THIGHS!"

I quietly listened to my brain...and then told it "to not be silly...doing too much right now would be detrimental" and again slipped AM Yoga into my DVD player. I really did want to do something a little more challenging, mostly because I felt like I needed to be burning calories (that is a hard mindset to re-set as a female, I think). BUT...I also needed to heal my shoulder. Pushing myself could mess it up more, and could put a major damper on the rest of my Year of Yoga. So despite my "I need to burn calories NOW" mentality, I went with the "I need to heal for the long run" reality. So I kept playing that AM Yoga DVD day after day until my shoulder felt better. Then I did it one more day for good measure.

I'm glad I did. Today I was able to do the more athletic (and aptly named) Yoga for Athletes by Baron Baptist. That's one of my faves and I've had it forever. Tried and true. Tomorrow I'll probably do Yoga for Stamina with Rodney Yee. Also tried and true.

My week and a half of "easy" yoga had not caused me lose strength or flexibility. It healed my shoulder fully and I was downward dogging it up on the mat today- just as strong and actually MORE flexible than before (thanks Relax-y Stretchy yoga!).

The moral to this experience: Listen to your body. It's usually smarter than you. :)


  1. I did Yoga for like my third time ever last night :) Kind of cracks me up I have more muscle soreness from that than running! But I can still stand on my head so I have that going for me ;)

  2. Seriously? You can do a headstand? I don't know if I'll ever be there. I don't like to be upside down for reals.

    Awesome that you did yoga last night! Did Kaylee inspire you? :)

  3. Hi! I just found your blog - so glad you're fighting for Kaylee, I've been watching her for a while. :)

    Out of curiosity, how long do you do yoga for each day? I like the idea of yoga but it sounds like you have to do a lot of it for it to do anything.

  4. HI Briana! I'm so happy to have your comment! Thanks for following!!!

    Since I am trying to do yoga everyday for a year, I am trying not to get burnt out, so I usually listen to my body that day to see what it 'wants'. Usually my practice can range anywhere from 15-30 minutes. Rarely more or less than that.

    I know that it does seem like it takes a lot of it to make a difference, but if its done regularly, it can really transform your body.

    I find that it leans me out...doing yoga is really the only thing that has every helped slim down my muffin top. haha! The amazing thing about it is that it you don't always feel like its working because it transforms in a way that all the sudden shows up.

    That's my experience anyway. If you want a true workout though- Rodney Yee's DVD's (available through gaiam.com) are awesome. They are definitely a workout if you get the Power Yoga for Strength, Yoga for Stamina, Upper body Yoga, or Yoga for Abs. They'll make you sore. :)

    Thanks again for following! I look forward to following your blog as well!