Today I wanted to share something that’s been bugging me… and this might be a bit “controversial.” As a member of the wellness community, I’m no stranger to the pressure to be “zen” 24/7, and one of the ways to achieve this is by practicing yoga. I know yoga is supposed to be relaxing, and I totally believe that it is, can be, and will be for many, many people. I, however, am just not one of them.
In fact, I find yoga to be a tad, well… boring. Ok, there, I said it.
I know, I know. I feel sort of blasphemous as a healthy living blogger to even to admit that I am not yoga’s biggest fan. You know those feelings of inner peace and calmness that should be flooding your mind as you move your way through the flow? Yeah, that doesn’t happen for me. (Well, maybe a little at the end when it’s over.) Instead, I encountered the exact opposite – racing, wandering thoughts, and then guilt and frustration because I just wasn’t experiencing the relaxation I was seeking.
To be clear, yoga has a myriad of benefits, both physical and mental, and I am in no way trying to say that you shouldn’t practice or start if you are curious about trying it out. This is purely coming from my own experience, and it’s something I wanted to share because I have felt like I “should” practice yoga more regularly – and I just don’t! So if you’re like me, and can relate, then Hi! You’re not alone!
In the past, I did kind of love yoga. Over the years though, things changed, and it felt so forced for me. I really wanted to love yoga. I really, really did. But the few times I practiced, my mind was far from quiet – in fact, it was noisier than ever. The lack of distraction basically let my already overactive thought process run completely wild, and if I could have recorded my inner dialogue during class and played it here, you would be cracking up. Seriously. “Man, I need a pedicure ASAP.” “I wonder what Quinn’s doing right now?” “Ugh, this tag on my tank top is REALLY bothering me.”
Despite my lack of zen, I knew with any healthy habit, I shouldn’t just throw in the towel after one “meh” experience. Creating sustainable wellness practices takes time and effort, and I am not one to just give up! And I could definitely feel my body responding to yoga, if not my mind. Between regular strength training, CrossFit, and running, there is no doubt that I needed all of the physical benefits that came with practicing yoga. Hey, stretching and mobility!
So… I’ve compromised. I can do maybe 15, 20 minutes max of a yoga practice. Just enough to shake out my limbs and give my muscles a little stretch – but not more than that, which probably sounds crazy to some avid yogis, but it’s what works for me! At first, I felt really guilty about not enjoying or finding yoga relaxing the way so many others in the healthy living community do, but I’ve accepted it. In fact, by realizing yoga doesn’t work for me, I simultaneously realized what does. I need the stimulation and fast pace of workouts like CrossFit and running because that distraction forces me to get out of my own head by shifting the focus to the experience itself and my performance goals.
My hope with sharing my “yoga struggles,” I help inspire you guys to find a relaxation practice that works for you. I’ve learned over the years that healthy living doesn’t have to look like what your best friend, coworker, or the Internet tells you is right. Yoga has its place in my life, but it’s not a prominent one. And that’s ok! I get my “zen” other ways!
So, find your own mindfulness practice – whatever you enjoy and whatever is sustainable! Maybe you are a kickass yogi and meditation guru. Maybe your version of therapy is sweating it out during a tough workout or crashing in bed while Netflix plays in the background. Or maybe it’s some variation of all three! All of these are important aspects of healthy living. So do your own version of wellness, whatever that means to you!
Question of the Day
How do you find your “zen”? What is your version of wellness?