Sunday, August 14, 2011

Yoga Challenge Day 21: Fake It Till you Make It?

I've loved this concept ever since my therapist and my Mom (who is also a therapist) explained it to me so many years ago when I was working through some post-adolescent “champagne” problem with which I filled my 20-something spare time (god knows why.) It’s the idea that you go through the motions of the healthy behavior UNTIL you can do it with honest intent and feeling.

In the case of yoga, this marries well with the theory that we’ve all probably heard in some crappy motivational speech or pointless team-building offsite: you can create a new habit if you do the same task daily for 21 days. 

Okay, so its been 21 days and its time for a self-check:  is yoga a habit yet or am I pushing myself simply because I don’t want to fail? And do I mean it, or am I still faking it?

I THINK it’s a habit because it a) hasn’t been difficult to make time for yoga every day; and b) I’m not thinking up excuses not to practice.

And I THINK I mean it because I a) look forward to it every day and b) I’m seeing deeper changes in my behavior and outlook – and I like them.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

·      Yoga is not hard to do daily if you figure out the tricks to use to get yourself to make time for it (I’ll share my own tricks in an upcoming post.)
·      There’s a sizeable physical “hump” you’ll probably have to get over before you start spending more time enjoying the practice than gritting your teeth until its over.  FYI, this happened for me YESTERDAY - after 20 straight days.
·      The right gear makes a difference.  Spend the dough on a real mat and block; this stuff is not expensive. The right gear will allow you to focus on what you’re doing, rather than be distracted by worries over sliding across floor on that towel you’re using as a mat or slipping off those phone books you’re using as blocks. (I’ll share my list of places to find yoga gear online in a future post.)
·      Yoga has a meaningful impact in as little as 10 minutes a day. I’m not the only one who says this; look it up.  A little yoga is better than none. If you’re like me, the enemy of sticking with something is boredom, so having the option to switch up styles and duration AND being able to fit it in between all that other stuff that fills your day helps you stay on track.
·      Yep, I’ll say it again: yoga works even if you don’t believe in it. I am far from being touchy-feely or hippy-dippy when it comes to spirituality and all that stuff (city of residence notwithstanding.)  Yet I know yoga has already affected me to my core (and I don’t just mean abs and bum-bum, though those are coming along nicely, thanks for asking.)

So yes, I think yoga has become a habit. But, even if it hasn’t, I’m gonna keep faking it until I make it to 100 days.

Oh, almost forgot.  Yesterday was a challenging but enjoyable 60-minute Hatha-based core workout (thanks once again, Felicia Tomasko!)  Today was my first level 2 Vinyasa Flow class and it’s the first time I sweat so much I slipped on my mat.  Now get why Yogitoes skidless towels are considered such a necessity!

Talk to you tomorrow.

Days completed: 21
Days to go:  79

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