Getting on the Mat

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Along with basically everybody else, I have entered 2015 with a new resolve to take better care of myself.  2014 was a low point in this respect – I ate and slept badly, had regular stomachaches, exercised hardly at all (not even walking anywhere), and my back went out a couple of months ago when I was unable to walk for days, and has been sore almost everyday since.

I actually am so grateful to my body for this – it doesn’t suffer the stress I put on it in silence. It will complain, and if I ignore it some more, it revolts.

Change is needed, and I am trying.  Yoga helps my back significantly, and I love it.  It’s like a meditation for both the body and the mind, and unifies them.

I am, however, still in my life, so a daily yoga practice, though lovely-sounding, is looking kind of lofty.  So is any practice that is 90 minutes long outside the home (which was how I used to practice in a previous lifetime).  I’ve tried to schedule it in, but this doesn’t usually work for long.

So what’s a mother of three with an overflowing life to do?  I’m getting on the mat, whenever I can.

My resolve this year is to roll out my yoga mat whenever I think of it and it’s even kind of feasible.  I’m not looking for the hour-long window anymore, I’m just looking for a door that’s open a crack.  This means that I will do yoga with my children (not so meditative but still with benefits) and that I will do it even though I know the chances of finishing are low.

I do this because even if it’s short I can still stretch and breathe, and maybe I won’t be interrupted as soon as I thought.  Just getting on the mat, even when I don’t know how long it’s going to last, means practices that sometimes finish, but more often don’t – they end up being 22 minutes, or 12 minutes, or 33 minutes long.  They are compromised, yes, but at least they are happening.

It’s not perfect or even great, but it’s something, which is infinitely better than nothing.  Also there’s something to be said for even a modest momentum.  I’ve done yoga quite a few times in 2015, and noticed that I went swimming over the holidays, walked the hour home from work in the winter storm, signed up for a group yoga practice next month.

Those minutes add up not just to hours, but to a life that’s closer to what I want and need.  It helps my back; it just helps.  And it’s not bad for just getting on the mat.

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3 thoughts on “Getting on the Mat

  1. Best of luck! A little over a year ago, I really hurt my back somehow as well. I didn’t think I had done anything to it, but I suddenly had excruciating pain. I went for tests, but nothing turned up. After trying to rest for a while, I realized I had the entirely wrong approach. What I needed to do was MOVE. So I started doing yoga and exercises to strengthen my back and core muscles, and since then it’s drastically improved. So I think you’re definitely on the right track. And whether you practice yoga for 10 minutes or 1 hour, at least you made the effort and that’s what’s important 🙂

  2. One thing I remind myself when exercising with my kids interrupting me over and over is that they are learning by my example that exercise is worth not only fitting in, but also doing. My parents never exercised in front of us, and until I was in college (or maybe out of) and felt like I wanted to make physical health as important as other aspects, did I feel comfortable even doing it and having people see me do it. Now, with my kids, I don’t feel abashed exercising with them around, I want them to learn that it is a worthwhile activity even for an adult.

  3. Good on you! One of my mottos is “A little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing” because as a mum I have to take whatever precious, sporadic time I can to exercise 🙂 Now you’ve inspired me to get 20 mins of yoga in while the baby naps!

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