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If It’s Not Working, Try Something Different…

Yoga Cat

I tried something different today. It’s not something I haven’t THOUGHT of a million times or SAID I’d do a million times, but it’s something I really haven’t DONE before. I did yoga this morning. This morning. Not at noon, after 6 hours of drinking coffee and screwing around on Facebook, THIS MORNING. As in, around 8am.

What’s the big deal with yoga in the morning?

The big deal with yoga in the morning is that my stress level is WAY too high. Like, it’s off the charts high. Finishing my book didn’t really change anything. I barely felt any relief when I finished it and I just moved on to being stressed about all the other stuff I can be stressed out about – the stuff I was putting off so I could finish my book.

Enough is ENOUGH! I’ve had it with feeling stressed. I had a somewhat stressful situation that I had to deal with yesterday and it totally crushed me. My baseline stress level is WAY to high and I need to fix it. At this point, I feel like all my goals – especially the training ones – are getting held up here. If stress is high, digestion is compromised and cortisol will be high. Not good. Add to that, when I get really stressed I completely lose my appetite. Training progress is hard to come by when you’re under-eating. And, yes, my stress level is high enough that I consistently under-eat.

It’s Not Just About Stretching

Yoga has kind of a double benefit. It’s great for stretching and recovery, but it’s also great for your MIND. It not only connects your body and mind in a different way than hard training, it calms the mind too. It can slowly help shift your consciousness out of the past and the future and into the present moment. Life is moving faster and faster for everyone and a practice like yoga is becoming more and more essential just to keep from losing our minds. I’ve talked before about how fast things move in modern life. It’s not good and I’m damn sure it’s not Paleo…

It’s amazing to me how you can lose hours or even DAYS pointing and clicking and texting and checking and Facebooking and Tweeting and whatever else. IT’S SCARY! I LOVE technology and I LOVE Facebook and all my friends on there. What I don’t love is that the online world NEVER SHUTS OFF. If you don’t set clear boundaries AND get them integrated into a SOLID routine you’re going to have problems. I’m currently having problems…

A NEW Routine and A New Beginning…

So, this morning, I got up, fed Scamper and sat down with my coffee – AND my copy of “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. I’ve read that book several times and, EVERY TIME I read it, I have a major shift in my perception. It’s been that great for me. I’m hoping this time I have the same fortunate experience…

Slowly, Gently and CALMLY make things better…

I want things to be better. I want to be better. I have so many goals and things I want to learn and do and get better at. Not too long ago, I wrote about some of these things and my struggle with the process in “It’s Always Right There…What I’m working on doing currently is getting better at stuff in a more calm way. Avoiding what you should be doing is ONE form of resistance. Charging off into what you should be doing like a mental case is another form of resistance. Yeah, you’re doing what you should be doing, but you can’t sustain that energy long term. It’s just another ego deal when you get all wound up and motivated and go after something with a vengeance. Why? Because very little happens in life or training as the result of one heroic effort. From what I can see, the heroic effort is putting in the SMALL efforts day after day, month after month and year after year. You don’t nail a PR or build a business or create an outstanding life by getting all caffeined out and angry and making a HUGE effort ONCE. Maybe a little of that is good at certain points in the journey, but there is A LOT of calm, patient preparation and “showing up” that goes on before that big, angry push is needed to get the goal. The big, angry push is the little bit that puts you over the top – it’s not where you need to live to really make things happen…

If you don’t believe me or don’t think I’m qualified to tell you this, please know that my LIFE was one big, angry push up to about a year ago. It can get you some short-term results and can even work OK for you when you’re young and can recover more easily, but it’s NOT the way to go long term. Even if it worked really well in the long-term, I think the results vs. the energy expenditure would make it uneconomical. But, it DOESN’T work long term…

So, today is about creating a new routine that I live every day.

Here is my new routine:

  • Wake up and have some fresh-ground, organic coffee
  • Read something, while enjoying the coffee, that focuses my mind on The Now – No computer books, no Facebook, no “how-to” books. ONLY something that makes me feel thankful for being here, now. Nothing that makes me feel edgy and needing to “get to later” or get to some other time period besides the one I’m in.
  • Do a yoga DVD or a yoga routine I already have down, some qigong, joint mobility and/or meditation – I’m not going to be super strict on what I actually do yet, the main thing is to do something that helps recovery, is nurturing and focuses my attention in the moment
  • Drink AT LEAST a liter of water after practicing
  • Do this routine DAILY

I don’t think there’s any other way to do this. If I start writing or get on the computer first thing, I get all spun up and stressed and it’s extremely hard to pull myself away and do yoga later. It’s like, I HAVE to do it while most of the world is still asleep. If I don’t, it’s like I can’t tear myself away from all the “important” stuff that’s happening. In fact, I was supposed to start this routine yesterday and checked my email right before – and there was a mess I needed to deal with that I was alerted to and that was the end of yoga and nurturing myself… For God’s sake, don’t check email before yoga – EVER! :-)

And, I have a crush on Sara Ivanhoe…

Sara Ivanhoe

If you’re wondering where I do yoga, I do it at home and just about always have. I’m a big fan of the yoga DVD and I’m a massive fan of Sara Ivanhoe. I found her when I bought the DVD “Yoga for Dummies” several years ago. She’s an amazing teacher and is SERIOUSLY hot :-P I know, not really necessary for a yoga DVD to be good, but it doesn’t hurt – especially if you’re a male… Actually, Sara’s “hotness” is more about her vibe and how patient and in the moment she is. It’s really inspiring to experience. SHE’S something inspiring to experience. I can’t really explain it. If you get one of her DVDs you’ll see what I mean, I’m sure.

Yoga DVD Cover

Today I did the second practice on her “Yoga on the Edge” DVD. I can’t say enough good stuff about that DVD or her instruction in it. It’s a little more advanced that the “For Dummies” one, but most people with a little fitness can probably do it pretty well the first time.

BTW, Sara also writes a pretty cool column for The Huffington Post.

Now that I’m done crushing on Sara, I’ll get back to the important stuff. But really, my crush aside, her stuff ROCKS! :-)

My favorite thing about Sara is that she coaches you to be in the moment and be where you are. She encourages you to just do the practice and not worry about being perfect. This is GREAT for me because I’m such a perfectionist mental case. Having someone continually give me permission to be not so good at something really helps. Probably in part due to Sara’s DVDs, yoga is one of the very few things I don’t demand perfection of myself in and don’t obsess about.  I got a yoga DVD from another popular yogini a while back. She was COMPLETELY different – all intense and mental about form and serious and rigid. YUCK!

OK, NOW I’m done crushing on Sara…

We’ll see what happens…

That’s pretty much it. I’m going to work on this for the next week or two – EVERY DAY – and see what happens. My hope is that I’ll feel calmer, more in control and my creativity will improve. I’m also hoping I can get – and stay – in the moment easier. And I really, REALLY hope the morning stressing and pointing and clicking and tweeting and checking nonsense goes away permanently and is replaced by a much healthier habit…

ttys

Adam

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About Adam

Adam Farrah has been studying and experimenting with Paleo approaches to health, eating, living and moving since 2005. Connect with Adam on Google+

Comments

  1. I just discovered Sara last week. Her videos are on our cable for a limited time to try out. Really liked the workout I did.

  2. My husband and I own a crossfit box and we love the benefits of yoga for our athletes. We actually offer several crossfit-specific recovery/injury prevention classes. I don’t know where you live but if you are ever in the fort worth area please check us out! It’s called Brandt Fitness and Self Defense.

  3. Thanks for making me think. I recently blogged about a week of rest, read your post, and then read this article from Whole 9

    http://whole9life.com/2011/04/build-your-own-tuesday/

    I love that so many people are recognizing the need listen to their bodies and eliminate some stress!

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