One of the challenges I am still feeling after the broken foot is balance. After walking weirdly on crutches, a scooter, a one-leg crutch and then hobbling around on two feet in a lot of pain, my leg muscles have learned some bad habits or coping mechanisms that I now need to program them out of. I have worked on this a lot, especially in the pool during the summer, but it's still a challenge.
It's hard for me to sit in a chair for a long time with my knees together. My legs want to twist and splay in weird ways and my gait when I walk is still a little weird. So I have to concentrate on making those good and proper balance habits permanent. Yoga has really helped because it gets all those bones and muscles both relaxed and in the proper alignment. It's amazing how good I feel and how good (normal!) my balance feels when I complete my yoga work. There is no question that I want to continue this good progress!
One of the things that makes working out the body a little tedious is trying not to get stuck in ruts and have a varied routine. So I'm switching it up frequently, even every week or every gym workout just to keep myself from getting burned out or bored. At the gym I'm trying to vary my cardio between elliptical, recumbent bike, regular old bike and the treadmill. It does help me mentally not to feel like I have to do the same thing over and over.
Yesterday I tried out this Gentle Morning Sequence video by Yoga with Adriene. I was in the mood for something calming and this definitely was. I liked Adriene quite a bit too. She is calm and peaceful and truly was gentle in her approach and demeanor. I thought her attire was really cute too, not important really but she looked cute and comfortable without needing to bare her six pack to the world which you get with some others. The thing I liked most about her and her philosophy was that she repeatedly gave students the freedom to feel their own bodies and their own needs and interpret as they feel is best. That feels so much better to me than a teacher or guide who is just pressing you into things you don't feel you can do or that are above your abilities at the moment. I did feels some places where I needed to stop and focus on certain things that were happening in my body, energy pockets that needed attention, etc. I liked that she reminded me repeatedly that I had permission and that I know what is good for my body. I think that was very helpful to the success of my practice as I followed along.
This would be a great practice for someone just starting out in yoga for the first time, someone who is returning to practice after a lull or for anyone who feels like they need a gentle start to their day. It's 15 minutes so it doesn't take a lot of time but the "feel good" afterwards lasts much longer than that. I'll definitely be doing this one again and I can see it being one I might do to get started and then being able to follow up pretty much immediately with something a little more demanding.
I love being able to roll out my mat on the nice thick rug in our family room and have this private time in the mornings to get myself centered for the day. I am suddenly having a new relationship with that room now that we have it partially organized and set up so that we can use it. It is becoming the quiet room for peace and relaxation that we have been needing with such an open concept home. Love that.
Here's another meditation to share as well, by Deepak Chopra. It's long but you can choose to do one or two or more as you feel you have time and energy for. I've really been enjoying the Chopra meditations, the music is great and his voice is calming.
I'll share with you one other little lightbulb moment I've had the past couple of weeks. I had a good laugh about this with another woman this past week. Years ago I did a full hour of a fairly challenging yoga routine regularly. So when I started again I had this idea that if I didn't do a full hour of yoga, nothing else was really enough, or it didn't count because it was too little or something. It's that whole mentality of I should go to the gym for two hours every day or I'm a failure and then we just give up because if we do anything less we feel we can't give ourselves credit for it.
Doing 15-20 minutes of exercise every time we have a chance is very beneficial and it's silly to get stuck in a mindset where we set a standard that is too hard for us to keep up with and then consider failure anything less than that one mark. Every attempt is good and we should give ourselves credit for it. Baby steps to exercise are way better than no exercise at all.
I have not been doing the full hour yoga, I've been doing 15-20 minutes and can I just tell you it's been fantastic. There are days when I can't get to the gym for 90 minutes and I just try to do 40. And that's a workout. That counts. I sweat, get healthier and more fit. There is no magic bullet amount of time or way to do things that is the "right" way every day. But the continual effort is what pays off and we can just keep pushing ourselves where we can and expanding as we feel our abilities increase and our interest rise. That happens pretty naturally if it is our intent, so we don't have to make things so hard on ourselves.
Hope you are finding new ways to center and balance in this new year. If you are having positive experiences with meditation, yoga and affirmations I'd love to feature you here on the blog! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below! Happy centering!