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. Good advice. I should get a yoga video...Rodney Yee is good eh?

  2. He is! My yoga DVD library is filled mostly with Mr. Yee. :)

    I would recommend Yoga for Stamina or the AM/PM Yoga if you're new to yoga. Also...I don't know if its still available, but Baron Baptist's Yoga for Athletes is good too- and it give some modifications for those new to yoga.

    If you end up getting one- the main thing to remember is that it doesnt' have to be perfect, just do what you can- it will still work. That's what's so great about it- just doing it at all produces benefit. :)

    Let me know how you like it if you give it a shot! :)

    p.s. I love that you said 'eh'. tee hee. :)