When addiction can be a good thing
Exercise has always been on my personal wellness radar, but lately I seem to be getting either bored or injured more easily. I started finding excuses to skip my regular workouts and believed my justifications were valid. After all, as the body ages, it gets harder to keep the motivation train going. With that said, I knew if I stopped challenging my body (and mind) today, I’ll pay for it big time tomorrow. So I decided it was time to shake out the cobwebs, stir up some of that old energy and try something new.
As I was driving through a neighboring town, I noticed a sign for a local yoga studio. Even though I take this route often, I never noticed this sign before. Today, it was calling my name. Trusting my intuition, I looked into their website. While this yoga studio offered both traditional and hot (heated) Vinyasa power flow yoga, I was interested in learning more about the hot yoga. Dismissing this kind of yoga in the past, hearing how challenging it can be, my instincts were telling me to give it a try. The classes run from 60 – 90 minutes and the room temperature is kept between 95-105 degrees with humidity between 35-50%. This sounded like a desirable break from the frigid temperatures outside.
I signed up for my first trial class and soon became an addict. I discovered the benefits of this type of yoga were profound.
The heat allowed me to safely reach new levels of flexibility, getting better with each class. My strength increased, as I used my own body weight as a gym. I used muscles that I didn’t even know I had and learned the importance of breathing, taking me deeper into my poses and keeping me present. I also realized I burned the same amount of calories doing the flow yoga in a heated room as running a mile, and I never have to leave my mat. In addition, doing this type of yoga improves my posture, I feel less stressed and sleep like a baby.
Having the courage to try something new, and moving out of your comfort zone can be so satisfying. I experienced this last year, when at the age of 50, I decided to run in my first 5K. Having no experience in running, I trained for the race as best as I could. The anxiety I experienced the night before race day was tormenting. I was visualizing all the things that could go wrong, but when I ran across the finish line, nothing else mattered, I felt invincible.
This reminds me that when we choose to stay in what feels familiar, we close the door to new opportunities, and will never find out where our true potential lies, never knowing what we are capable of achieving. When we try something new, we learn to move away from our perceived limitations, stretching ourselves to new experiences in life, while boosting our self-confidence, and making ourselves more resilient to obstacles and challenges faced along the way.
While I may not have looked at hot yoga ten years ago, I am grateful today to have the flexibility to move gracefully with each pose, albeit at my own pace. As I exercise my mind and body in this new way, I challenge myself to new heights.
So, while yoga may not be your thing, why not try hiking, running your first 5K, taking an indoor cycling class or trying a new dance class. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
Try something new today, and you’ll feel motivated to conquer anything tomorrow. You never know, you just might get hooked.