Weekend Pith: Namaste to You

Yoga is my hobby.

I’ve made this one of my life rules, because quite frankly I need it to be true.

I’m not a particularly sporty person, but I’ve always loved the idea of being one. However, by the time I had the freedom and resources to commit to something, I was literally out of the game. I’d spent too many years reading books and playing the piano. I married an athlete, this is true, but athletic skills don’t necessarily transmit themselves as soon as you change your name and merge bank accounts.

It’s one of my biggest struggles and disappointments.

When I was in high school, exercise was a chore I had to get done for gym class. Also, I was homeschooled. So it was a solitary activity. And not really that fun. As I got older and started college and dated my very very (like obnoxiously) athletic Russian (like we met at a basketball game he was playing in), I tried many forms of athletic activity in turn.

But I soon ran into a very stupid conundrum as I tried basketball and running and lifting and golf: I hated when people made me exercise, and yet I couldn’t make myself do it. I liked how I felt afterward, but in the tough moments, the moments that counted, I was totally disgusted with myself and everything else. It sucked because I was out of shape, but I was out of shape because it sucked too much for me to do it.

It became a vicious cycle: go exercise, struggle, cry, get home, feel better after a shower, be in pain, put off exercising, finally force self to go, etc. The biggest struggle was not the physical discomfort but the mental pain. I wanted to be better than this. I wanted to run and lift and play and love it. But I couldn’t. I just couldn’t make myself love it.

“That’s the point of exercise,” people say. “It’s those hard moments where you hate it but you push through and emerge victorious on the other side. That’s what makes it so good. No pain, no gain.”

Nope. Not me. Doesn’t work. I have to enjoy it. I have to inherently love every minute of it or I won’t do it. Sorry. Won’t.

And I realize this is rather babyish, but because apparently I am a baby about it, I must take baby steps. The only other option, I’ve realized, is doing nothing at all.

The first step is accepting that this is how I am. The second step is tricking myself into exercising anyway. The third step is becoming the kind of person who golfs before breakfast, lifts before lunch, runs before dinner, and plays pickup soccer after dinner.

(Those people do exist. I’m married to one.)

That last step will take a while. But the second step is what I’m working on. Yoga is my hobby, I tell myself. And I believe it, because I love it.

Even though yoga really is hard as hell, and you shouldn’t believe anyone who tries to pass it off as a bunch of Stretching for Pansies, I love every minute of it. Because yoga by its very nature makes you aware of yourself. It makes you accept the sucky moments and enjoy the lovely ones. It’s a mindset and a lifestyle, and to me that’s so much more rewarding. I don’t hate myself every time I think about exercising, and I definitely don’t hate myself while I’m doing it. And that’s a long way from where I used to be.

And someday I’ll take up running or the golf my husband tells me I’m good at. I look forward to these things as a goal to savor when I get to them. For now, I’m just happy that yoga is my hobby.

So namaste to you.



2 Replies to “Weekend Pith: Namaste to You”

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