Today is Tuesday, which means time on the mat tonight is mandatory. And since February 23, I am happy to report that Tuesday Night Yoga has become a firmly ingrained habit. While to some, such a habit is a no-brainer, such consistency for me is a big change.
Working out – heck, just moving enough – has always been a challenge for me. Yes I walk everywhere, yes I always did some yoga, and the occasional, sometimes weekly, even bi-weekly, run on the treadmill, but it was not enough. Endorphins are a mysterious concept to me. By mysterious, I mean that I have never ever felt that endorphin goodness post-workout. And, unfortunately, working out would usually result in a pounding headache or violent nausea. So, it’s hard to motivate to do something that at best, does not feel great, and at worst, makes me feel ill. Talk about a motivation killer.
I have tried many approaches to building a steady workout schedule over the years whether it is scheduling yoga and gym time in the planner, trying to figure out why working out would make me physically ill at times (various doctors had varying opinions, none particularly helpful), lots of variety, no variety, making the logistics as easy as possible, or tricking myself into working out. At some point in there, I did figure out yoga was sort of the gateway mechanism since usually, a few weeks of sustained yoga make me want to run or try other exercises, but if not, my logic is that I am still doing yoga and therefore moving.
But I wanted more than that and, frankly, I needed more than that from a health perspective. The goal is working out 4-5 times a week. To give you some perspective, the last time I worked out as much was 7 years ago. Twice a week on average had been my norm since, and sometimes not at all. Multiple health problems in the interim did not help in terms of getting back on such a schedule, but the few times in my life I had managed such a schedule before 2003, it never lasted more than 3-4 months.
This time though, I took a completely different approach to the problem and strategized. I thought back to other times I have made successful significant changes in my life. And one part of the strategy was Tuesday Night Yoga. I picked the workout I enjoyed the most (vinyasa yoga), picked the night I had the highest chance of making it to a class (there’s several options in my neighborhood on Tuesdays, including an 8.45pm class), and made a deal with myself: if I got stuck at work past 9pm or if I was too exhausted to go to a class, I still had to come home, roll out my mat and spend at least 15 minutes on it, even if it just meant doing child’s pose for 15 minutes.
The idea with Tuesday Night Yoga was to show myself I could be consistent about moving. You see, I had done a lot of thinking about the stories I told myself regarding working out – and one of them was that I had never managed to be consistent. So, I wanted to end that storyline. Other storylines (like working out giving me debilitating headaches) were things I could not fix by myself – cue diet changes (including cutting out all dairy and eating gluten-free), naturopathic medicine, finally finding a helpful conventional medicine general practitioner, regular bloodwork, tons of supplements, you get the idea – but the consistency thing, that was up to me.And after years of fatigue and inconsistency, this was going to be hard.
Even if I could only be consistent about Tuesday Night yoga, and the rest of my workouts happened on varying days of the week, slotted in as best as I could based on other demands, I wanted to know I could have that consistency. Heck, and this was the key, even if no other workouts of any sort happened, whether I was exhausted, Tuesday Night yoga, even if it was just 15 minutes in child’s pose, had to happen.
I thought that if I stopped that story, that would go a long way towards changing my outlook about working out in general. And it has worked. Every Tuesday since February 23, I have unrolled my yoga mat. And only on two of those Tuesday’s did I do less than a full yoga practice – one was the 15 minutes of child’s pose and the other was 20 minutes in a restorative pose (where I ended up falling asleep). Most Tuesdays, I made it to a studio class, and when I did not, would usually get in a respectable 45 minute practice at home.
Tuesday Night Yoga was part of other decisions I made in February to increase my working out schedule (I managed 3 times a week all through March, and 4 times all through April!) but it was the one I wanted to share with you today, mainly because it represents such a profound change in outlook. And the change in outlook is what I needed more than just the scheduling part.
I also wanted to thank Christine of Blisschick, Kiki of Yogademia, and Vienna of Ones. These ladies have home yoga practices that have been really inspiring to me. Kiki introduced me to the concept of Tiny Yoga and Christine has written so much about embodying and the stories we tell ourselves, and all of that was so helpful in my coming up with Tuesday Night Yoga as a concept. I am not linking to specific posts on their blogs because, really, there were so many that helped. And Vienna and I have chatted on email about movement, based on this post, and that too has been so very helpful.
Image credit here.
General Disclosures & Disclaimers