Brian's Blog

…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World

One day a week / A month of…

I had two topics in mind, the first was going to be about how I had a month of yoga’ing, then yesterday, whilst at yoga class (yes more on that in a moment) whilst chatting at the end the topic came up of doing something ‘only’ once a week, since that’s how frequently the classes were.

So yeah, last month, September, I had this little idea in my head to do some yoga each day for the whole month, particularly because I was noticing the benefits of doing some each day, and noticing the drawbacks of missing a few days. I didn’t actually manage to do some yoga every day, for various reasons/excuses such as just running out of time in the day, to actually have no motivation to follow a routine I had been happily doing many times or find a new one that suited my mood. I missed a handful of days but I did upwards of 45 minutes a day on a good number of days.

I started doing some yoga at home some months back to help my stiff legs; I had been so used to cycling it had tightened up my calf muscles, which was also having an effect on my feet; I noticed this when running, which in itself caused tight thighs… which the yoga’ing revealed! In addition to all this, the yogic breathing was helping everything.

Some yoga poses were pretty tough to begin with (some still are) or left me with some aches and pains for the next day or so, but I eased myself into it and gradually felt me getting better and regaining some of my lost flexibility that I had in my early teenage years (this was a particular aim). The problem was, as I also noticed when I started running a handful of years ago, if I missed too many days, my progress slipped backwards. And this is how the topic of ‘only once a week’ came up yesterday, and my second yoga class.

I’d been following a few yoga videos on Youtube at home, but whilst talking with a client a few weeks ago the topic of yoga came up and she told me about the classes she goes to, and invited me along. I’m glad I had been doing some yoga at home beforehand because it made me know what I was capable of already, how my body can move, what unsettles my balance, and I already had the breathing in the bag… I had confidence to bend and wobble in a village hall of bendy and wobbly other people! It’s a long-ish session too; at least an hour and a half.

The yoga class is also getting me out of the house and mingling with other people. I was surprised to learn in doing so that the classes have been running for six-or-so years and some people there had been going since the start. One lady labelled me as ‘new to yoga’ even though I’d been doing some at home and didn’t feel as new as someone who really had done none before. When I said I had been following some Youtube videos one lady laughed and said “oh we don’t do Yoga at home!” (although not actually speaking for all, I’m sure) Then another joked about how they were older and their progress had ‘plateaued’, whereas I’m younger so it’s easier – I can agree with that somewhat; how physical things can take more time to get into when we’re older, and likely stiffer; I’ve noticed it happening already!

All these comments kind of highlight an overall issue I notice with a lot of things/lessons/classes, not just yoga; that once a week just isn’t enough, not if you want to progress in something. Otherwise, things just become routine…

It’s not that I want to be some sort of yogi expert, or maybe I secretly do! But I would like to see continued progress. Failing that I’d want to move on to something new. I’m also experiencing something similar with the German language lessons I am doing on Memrise; I’ve leaned so many new words that every day that I enter the course I have (at present) 50 words a day to ‘review’ before I allow myself to click the Learn New Words button. When attending a class, especially when paying to be there, and not experiencing any progress, I generally stop attending; I did this with Welsh language lessons some years back; I attended for a year and felt like I was continually learning, but then during the second year it seemed like my brain was stuck contending with the previous year’s stuff and I was no longer putting in any/sufficient private study time. But it can be awkward to leave; you feel like you’re letting other people down, if not only yourself, or you might be losing some social contacts… but I think it’s good for everyone to be honest and think back to why they started such a venture.

I can see some benefits to still attending such a class as yoga once a week, for year on year, without ‘progressing’ beyond a certain point, such as maintaining that level of ability, the routine of it, the getting out of the house and seeing the familiar faces; yoga has a nice ‘me time’ element to it, and not everyone can get ‘me time’ at home (I have the luxury here of living on my own, so I don’t have to contend with family interruptions, or noisy televisions in other rooms). But for yoga to really make a difference in your life, like, to really take any ‘thing’ like yoga or a foreign language on board, I think you have to make it part of your day-to-day life, otherwise you’re ‘just attending a class’.

It’s similar in some ways to dieting and weight loss programs; rather than developing a healthy lifestyle, there is just an ‘enforced’ routine that’s bolted onto a wonky lifestyle, which is not actually what’s required; what’s needed is a complete shift, so you ‘become’ that thing.

I have spoken to other people over the recent weeks about these ‘dreams’ they have, like “one day I would like to…” First my brother was talking about becoming a tree surgeon even though he has next to no interest in trees, and then my roofer was talking to me about my camping/cycling trip around Scotland and how he would one day “like to do something like that.” The thing is, if you don’t make such dreams a part of your life here and now, I think they’re unlikely to become anything more.

“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” – Benjamin Franklin (I believe)

The thing is, though, that I still have to fit these things I talk about into my own life, rather than my life becoming these things as one might dream. When this is the case it seems that path isn’t quite right for me, so I will perhaps continue ‘trying’ these things for a while, before I move on to something new.

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2 comments on “One day a week / A month of…

  1. Sarada Gray
    6 October, 2016

    Speaking as a qualified yoga teacher who taught for 15 years, I don’t think it’s good for students to ‘plateau’. I would always try to gently move mine along so that they were always learning. That said, it’s not just about ‘what you can do’ in terms of postures; in fact end-gaining is positively discouraged. It’s about learning to live in your body, to be comfortable in it and for your body to be truly alive. In order to achieve this we must remove blockages in energy such as stiffness, soreness and inflexibility. This applies just as much to the mind and emotions as to the body; hence yoga is holistic.
    And nobody should be telling you that you’re a beginner. Nobody knows who, what or where you are – only you

    • Brian
      10 October, 2016

      Thanks for your insight. Perhaps they feel they have plateaued in as much as not becoming any more physically flexible, but each week they learn some new poses, and ultimately enjoy the relaxation that comes with the session. But if the body is so linked with the mind then it would be nice for all to continue on… and not feel a ‘limit’ has been reached.

      And as for being called a beginner… well I’ll just quietly work on ironing out my wobbles 😉

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This entry was posted on 6 October, 2016 by in Health and Fitness and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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