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“It’s not who you are that holds you back – it’s who you think you’re not.”

During my yoga class yesterday morning — which honestly was a lovely class — there were, of course, several postures that I had to modify – several that I flat-out could not do – and some that I did, even though they hurt, because I just wanted to be able to do them.

I’m sick of the voices in my head that constantly berate me for what I can’t do. “Accept – Accept – Accept” is a repeating track over and over in my mind, yet the more I tell myself to do it, the more I try to prove I can – the more I find that I am struggling HARD with being unable to accept the fact that my body (which I’ve worked so hard the last few years to get into shape) is turning on me. The word is giving me a headache from shouting it to myself so much.

And the voices in my head were loud this morning:

“You’ll never be able to do that.”

“You don’t deserve to be in this room.”

“You’re the only one who can’t…”

There was more, but that’s the highlight reel. How often do we talk to ourselves in this manner, and why is it acceptable? I would never, ever say something like this to a friend. Instead, I would say that I made the right choices to serve what my body needs, I still showed up for practice, and that sometimes it takes more strength to hold back and do the right thing than it does to push through.

So, why can’t I believe that?

My body is what it is, failing on me or not, and I need to move past that if I’m going to move forward.

However, it is, admittedly, a disappointing, even a lonely feeling, to modify as much as I do in an intermediate class. When I practice alone, I obviously do what I love and what makes me feel good, and it’s not always a huge challenge as I avoid anything that causes even a twinge in my lower back. In a class, it feels like I’m shining a huge Bat-Signal type spotlight on everything that I need to change to accommodate for my issues. Like I’m the odd one out. Even though I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who is thinking of myself that way…

I’m fit enough.. I’m strong enough… I AM ENOUGH… but my bones and muscles and other inside bits often are not. Sometimes I have to deeply inhale, set my teeth, and move on to the next posture, letting as many of the feelings as possible float away on the exhale.

I have to believe that there’s a reason for the struggle. When it all comes down to it, we are all made from the same stuff as the stars – the same universal perfection – we are as perfect as we should be, no matter what is going on inside of our heads telling us otherwise. So, maybe all of this pain and frustration can one day be translated into knowledge and guidance. Maybe… just maybe, I’m meant to help others, who need MY yoga to be THEIR yoga, too… Only time will tell.

As difficult as it is sometimes, and as much as I sometimes want to give in, I am fighting back against the nasty lies that my inner voice says about me when I’m feeling weak. Carlos Castaneda said it best: “We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”

JudyNovember 20, 2016 - 1:25 pm

Karen, You are amazing! I sometimes feel as though all my joints need to be oiled. I started out feeling like The Tin Man in “The Wizard of Oz.” But, through your encouragement I am trying my best. I can see that the effort is my reward. Just reaching for the next challenge is my goal. 💕

Don’t let your mind bully your body

You know that moment when you know you’re making a bad decision, yet you continue to go along with it even though you know that it’s not a good idea and will only lead to a domino effect in making more bad decisions down the line?

Well, I have to come clean. I’ve put back on about 8-10 lbs in the past two and a half months, and I’m hating it. I walk past the mirror and don’t have anything nice to say about myself.

Stress. Kids. Not working out as much due to injury. Lack of willpower. Halloween candy. Ugh, the Halloween candy. And let’s not talk about my addiction to Halo Top Ice Cream.

I can actually pinpoint the exact meal that I ate where I let it all go, leading to that domino effect in poor food choices.

At first, I didn’t notice much in the way of weight gain, because I was still working out a lot and had just done my big century bike ride. But after that ride, I took a long break from the gym due to the back problems that I was experiencing. And then I realized that I felt a little bloated. The scale was only up a few pounds, so maybe it was just water weight… but then, my jeans were definitely too tight to just be water weight.

With the break from the gym, I had de-toned a bit, lost some muscle, and packed on weight from poor eating habits. And I’m feeling every bit of it.

The other day, as my brain was filling with negativity again, I stopped in my tracks. Stop being stupid, I said to myself. I know HOW to lose the weight. I’ve done it before, very successfully. And, thank goodness that I have a relatively healthy body that can still move and exercise to aid in the process.

Be grateful for that.

Don’t let your mind bully your body. You know better.

You. Know. Better.


Image found on Pinterest

So, it’s been almost three months of fooling around, and it’s time to get back on track.

Less carbs. More protein. Less lattes. More tea or regular coffee. Less mindless snacking. More meal planning. And I love Halo Top as much as anyone else, but I don’t need to eat the entire pint in one night while catching up on my backlog of Grey’s Anatomy. No. I really don’t!

And most importantly, less scale, more measurements, more weightlifting. The scale is not my friend, it doesn’t tell the truth, it is not a measure of who I am or what I’m worth. The more I weigh myself, the more frustrated I get, the more upset I become, the more I want to splurge on something to make me feel better. I’ve been known to step on the scale 10 times a day at my worst – and obsessing over numbers is not a productive way to live. Back to weighing once a week.

So, I’m posting this to become accountable. It took almost three months to pack the pounds on on, so I’m going to set a goal to drop it in three months or less, and hopefully get myself toned back up to where I was a few months ago, as well. I have a few friends who are in the same boat, so hopefully we can all be accountable together, staying positive about progress, focusing on exercise and eating healthy, and not obsessing over numbers.

Yesterday was day one, definitely the hardest. Onward and upward!

LeslieNovember 18, 2016 - 6:17 pm

Right there with you except double the time and double the weight gain. I started going to OTF this year, and hopefully it will get me back on track. Good luck! You can do it!

karen lisaNovember 20, 2016 - 12:43 am

Good luck to you too! :)

Yoga, strength, injury, and acceptance

Working out at the gym is very straightforward and cut-and-dry to me. There’s cardio and weightlifting – and even with modifications, I know which muscle groups I’m working and how to build strength. Even if I have an injury, I always feel like there’s still something I can do at the gym.

Yoga is different to me – as it should be! When I first started, I didn’t want to use blocks or props. I thought I was fit – so I could do it all. I soon realized that was not the case. Yoga made me hyper-aware of issues in my body. I realized that MY yoga would not always look like I imagined and that there were shapes I likely would never be able to take due to my anatomical makeup. I had to learn to accept that.

And now, with the issues and problems I’ve had lately in my lower back with lumbar compression and a hyper-mobile SI joint causing near-constant pain – MY yoga is changing again. How many transformations can you take in a year? I guess I will find out.

It has been difficult to reconcile the fact that I am crazy strong in the gym – but there are some simple yoga poses that my body cannot handle – and many that I will never be able to do to their fullest expression – or whatever I expect that should look like.

It’s frustrating. It makes the perfectionist inside of me angry – sometimes very much so. And then the negative self-talk sets in – and sometimes it’s not just negative, it’s downright nasty.

I try to let those thoughts leave my head as quickly as they came in.

Some days, I am successful. Other days, I am not, and my practice suffers as a result.

At the gym, there’s always a different exercise to choose from – can’t do tricep dips today because of shoulder pain? Kickbacks or overhead tricep extensions work just fine, too. How can I make that work for me with yoga? Accepting PERCEIVED limitations and turning them into alternates or even advantages – accepting myself when I feel like I’m failing – letting go of the parts of my body that won’t cooperate and remembering to embrace the parts that do…

So… yeah – I CAN bench press 125lb. I KNOW that I’m strong. But, sometimes all of that knowledge dissolves when I can barely lift my right leg into a three-legged dog because my hamstrings and psoas and lower back are so tight and painful.

Deep down, I know that the asana (the poses) is just a small part of yoga. I have a lot to learn, still, but I know this, and I know I need to stop trying to convince myself otherwise. Acceptance is the only road – forcing my body through anything it shouldn’t do for the sake of what I think it should be like vs. what actually serves me best is detrimental to me both physically and mentally.

As usual, these things are often easier said than done. I can only continue to try my best to be mindful with every movement, let go of expectations, and only take postures that are safe for my back and will keep my body strong and healthy. Regardless of how I wish it looks – it’s about how it feels inside that truly counts.