January 20, 2011

Do you believe in yoga? Day 18 of the Hot Yoga Challenge

Last week, you may recall I was moaning and groaning about the aches and pains from all that yoga. I was emotional and just over it.

So what's happening this week?
Yesterday afternoon I had the most amazing physical-eureka moment, and I am truly excited to share my experience with you! I was meant to write this yesterday while the memories are still fresh but I had to work...

This week I've been feeling as if the hot yoga is not giving me enough challenge even with the teachers who traditionally are tough in their classes. Day 13 and Day 14 (Sat and Sun), I lie in Shava-asana at the end of the class, I was waiting for the moment of satisfaction to kick in... huh? nada... not even the slightest feeling of tiredness. Day 15-Day 17, same thing happened. What is happening? My body is probably getting used to it. I feel stronger and I know how to control my breath much better now. In my head I'm all pumped for warrior pose and I love the feeling of my thighs burning through my yoga pants. But even then my mind is not well-rested at the end of my session. What's going on here?

How Running and Yoga are the Perfect 'Companions'
I've always tested my fitness level with a run at McRitchie. More often than none, I detest runs. I feel the worst at the last stretch of my 5km run (gosh, I'm not even a marathoner here and barely can make it past 3 km without heaving into a utter mess!). I consider myself an amateur even though I do sporadic runs here and there. The only way I can get myself to complete a 5km run is to let my willpower do most the running. Trust me, it's not the best formula when you're physically unfit.

So back to what I was writing previously, I was feeling uncontent with my yesterday's afternoon yoga session, so I dropped my bags at home, got changed and went for a run at McRitchie. I left work earlier, and didn't care too much about the emails I had to write to the Middle East (right, my priority yesterday afternoon was to get my body feeling right instead of fuzzing my eyes over data... *yawn*). I was frantically checking google about the Sunset times in Singapore... 7:16pm. I only had less than an hr to fit my run, shower and dial in to my conference call.

My run was a bit of a struggle at first. I do notice that I am less bothered by sweat. I must sweat a litre everyday with the way I'm going. My mind took a bit of time to warm up to the idea of running. But holy macaroni, by the last 2km stretch, my legs could go further and surprisingly fast too. Running felt sensationally good. The setting temperature just made the whole experience alot better. I'm far from petite, and I have always been considered quite 'big boned' for the most part. However, I felt really light in the legs and I was running as fast as those crazy marathoners. In fact, I could easily say that I was sprinting the last 1km (no, I am not exaggerating nor am I boasting). I was hopping across turfs and boundaries like it didn't matter how much extra 'work' I had to do to get my body across. The uphill challenges was no longer as hard as it used to. Wow!

What is it that has made me feel so remarkably different this time round compared to my other runs?
  • My pelvis is more open, which makes my strides longer
  • My muscles are comfortably stretched
  • My legs are alot stronger
  • And most of all, my mind is trained to endure and focus on nothing but being present in the moment. I could have focused on the negative. But in yoga classes, I learnt that it's equally important to not take things too seriously. Just let go, laugh a little at anything idiotic that happens to you, smile at yourself in the mirror, be ok on making mistakes and just appreciate all the moments (even when your legs hurt like a mofo) 
Conclusion, I'm going back to McRitchie on Friday night.

Okay okay... I know you're probably sick and tired of hearing me go on about yoga. Yoga teaches you to be connected to your body. 2 years ago I don't believe in yoga. I used to think that it's for the hippies of the modern day era. Why the change in heart? I think it really has to do with the fact that I wasn't feeling connected with myself. I get lost in my thoughts and can't focus at work or home because my body doesn't feel 100%. It's true that mind really does rule over the body. If you're healthy mentally, most likely you will be physically.

By the way, I had the best teleconference with Brazil last night too. :)

 Day 18-21, hot vinyasa. Namaste!

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