Why can’t I sit still?
….Because you’re at the beginning and it feels good to do something, anything. Sitting, on the other hand, feels lazy and counterproductive. We equate movement with progress and doing. We want to feel like things are happening. Even if we don’t know where we’re going, we want to go.
But let me ask you something: What’s the hardest/most challenging thing you can do on a yoga mat? No really. What’s the ultimate?
If you’ve taken my classes, you know the answer: SAVASANA. At the end of class I ask you to lay down, close your eyes and just be - to resist the urge to fidget and notice the rhythm of your breath. This also shows up in legs up the wall. Either way, in both positions there’s nothing left for you to do. Laying on your back, doing nothing and yet everything at the same time is arguably the whole point. So why is it so damn hard?
Osho talks about yoga as preparation for death.’ Wait...
Someone told me this week that they would finally be able to commit to their recovery now that the kids are done with school. Cool I thought. Makes sense. But what happens when they go back? What happens when the chaos returns?
Yesterday this was all I could think about. I was sitting at my dining room table jotting down notes from a podcast on building a business. I was writing on the back of a junk mail envelope while Blake sat in a pile of crayons on the table. Reese sat across from us, talking about a Youtube tutorial that she may or may not shoot. I should probably insert here that she’s four and doesn’t have a Youtube, but whatever. There was shit happening everywhere. Also, I’m going to be honest, I don't know where Riley was. The point is, we all have some form of chaos in our lives and no one has time to wait for the dust to settle.
Let me drive this home even more. At my house, we have three kids under the age of five. I can stop right there...
Notice I didn’t say ALL of the time.
We have this vision of how it all could be, when everything fits together and we do everything we say we will. At first, when the motivation is high, we feel like we’re crushing it. But then temptation, laziness, other priorities creep in and the work starts to fall off. The negative internal talk starts to flare up and we wonder why we dared to start in the first place.
This negative feedback loop is infuriating. We know we can do better, so why don’t we?
Most of us stumble because we fixate on perfection. It’s all or nothing. Believe it or not, these two paradigms are easier (the all or the nothing). It’s the middle that’s tricky. But, sustainability and success reside in the middle, with the things that you do MOST of the time, not the things that you do SOME of the time.
When I was playing professional soccer, I lived in Sweden in a small town called Uppsala. Coming from America it...
On paper we can do all the things. In reality, not so much. So how do you fit in recovery on a regular basis without sacrificing your sanity? What follows are my top three time hacks for consistent recovery so that we can set aside the excuses and find a way to make it work.
JUMPSTART WITH GENTLE MOVEMENTS
There are no extra imaginary bonus points for thinking about recovery. You have to actually do the work. But what happens when you don’t know where to start? You start with what feels good. Get curious about your body and ways you can move to target obvious areas of tension. Your lower back hurts, you might start with a gentle supine twist. Your hamstrings are tight, you might work through a half splits.
The key is to start moving. We can always fine-tune the focus and elaborate on the specifics, but you have to start. And while the movements that “feel good” might not be the end game, bc let’s be honest, if they were you wouldn’t be continuously in pain, they are less likely to do more harm. The minute it doesn’t feel good you know you’re moving in the wrong direction.
TRUE RECOVERY TAKES EXPLORATION
And while we start with what we know, we have to accept that the root of the pain most likely...
But can’t I overstretch?
But what if I pull my hamstrings?
Then you’re doing it wrong.
To most people the physical practice of yoga looks like a lot of stretching and laying around, maybe with a touch of Circ du Soleil and contortionism (I mean did she really just put her foot behind her head?). So it’s only natural that coaches and players get this idea that athletes might be doing more harm than good when they step on the mat.
I’d wager that most people would be shocked at how much muscular engagement goes into “stretching.” At no point are you just flopping down into a pose. In fact most times (outside of savasana and the occasional supine maneuver) you’re holding yourself up in some way or another. That takes strength.
In Warrior 2 my arms are engaged, my quads are on, I can feel my feet pressing through the floor, everything around my...
The reason that so many of us fail to keep going is that we have a false expectation around what it takes to actually maintain the habit. We are so eager to find the path of least resistance that we don’t even have a fighting chance. Anything. And I mean anything worth changing for takes work. Unsexy, long, usually slow, usually uphill both ways type-of-work. “Work” is a concept that’s hard to sell.
I’m convinced that most people don’t tell you the truth about it, because you can’t handle it. You can’t eat whatever you want and lose weight. One yoga class a week is not enough. Recovery is more than just stretching. You can do all the things and still get hurt. You can do all the work and still struggle.
Real change takes work, time and effort. You should be saying to yourself, “...Ok, let’s do it anyway.”
Here, I teach yoga...
How you start has everything to do with how you finish. This week we talk about the importance of a warm up and what should be in it.
We’ll also look at a standard warmup + activation exercises you can do for almost any total body routine and my top three things to think about when putting together your plan. Give it a try and let me know if it was helpful. Thanks for watching. I’ll catch you on the blog again next week.
Take a seat and chat about why your breath matters and how you can maximize your recovery with just one purposeful inhale and one elongated exhale. This week we look at HOW to breath and take a quick 5 min meditation to calm the mind.