Here we are into the 2nd week of January & for most of us the new year parties are over, the lounging around time has reduced & life is picking up pace once again. We are adamant to keep our new years resolutions of health & fitness alive until at least February so we start to push.
This has had me thinking about the concepts that we connect with success, achievement, drive & ambition. Those concepts of 'pushing' 'forcing' 'struggle' 'striving' to succeed.
Now lets look at these concepts within our Pilates & Yoga Practice.
Each time you visit the mat, are you constantly focusing only on one thing - your end goal? maybe nailing that pose, struggling to find your balance again & again, holding on in each position so tight, forcing the breathe & bracing so hard that something might burst.. or break.
Do you notice that when you meet resistence within your body, you apply greater force & if it hurts you ignore it because we all know the saying ' no pain, no gain, right'
I challenge this thinking.
What we are creating by constantly pushing, struggling, forcing the body into positions it may not be ready for today is a continous pattern of fighting against what our body needs. We are ignoring the signals our body gives us & instead of creating strength, length & space, we end up creating tension, tigntess, muscle imbalances as the body tries to compensate to keep us safe, we close up rather than open & become sore & sometimes injured.
I have seen this many times in class & I have experienced this personally many times. I have been the queen of pushing my body again & again to the limit to achieve my end 'goal' of nailing a particular exercise or posture.
Repeatedly I have had constant niggles, aches, injuries have flared, my pelvic pain increased, my digestion troubles sky rocketed & I have come crashing down time & time again (ok, maybe I am a slow learner!).
The frustrating thing at the time & I know for many of you is that each time this happens, my life went back on hold, I couldnt do the daily activites I enjoyed, I had no choice but to to take time out from exercising, rest, heal a little bit only to jump back onto the mat & do it all again...
SO what if each time you stepped onto the mat, you took a few moments to really tune in & listen to what your body is telling you that day. Observe where do you feel open, where do you feel sore, tired, heavy & tight, where is the breathe choosing to flow to?
You can then use these signals to guide you to where & how you need to move on the mat for that day. Instead of forcing yourself into precarious positons, try moving from your centre first, let your breathe lift you up as you inhale & settle as you exhale. When you meet resistence within the body on the mat, explore other ways of moving around, if somethign hurts, listen in & find another way.
This process is incredibly empowering.
I am not saying to never work towards goals & I am not saying to not challenge yourself in class at all but what I am saying is to feel into your body first.
By feeling your way around your body, moving how feels right for you without forcing or struggle & exploring your physical capabilities, you will then see the body respond in a different way & you will see it is then more open & receptive to challenge.
You can then really focus & enjoy your classes, enjoy the wins when you find yor way into a pose by holding there a little longer breathing & feeling into it rather than not enjoying the moment at all, shaking & stumbling out of it.
By moving from your centre, you will build strength, lengthen, tone & find the ability to then challenge yourself & continually build from here instead of always starting from scratch from a place that is sore & tired.
My challenge for you this year is to try somethign new.
Jump off the road to struggle town & onto the mat & work on moving with ease within your body. Watch & experience how ease will eventually spill out into your daily life & you will be kicking those goals with success, feeling fit, strong, empowered & loving life!
Meet me on the mat & let me guide you on this journey towards building strength, increasing fitness & finding ease