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The other day, when I was entering the rec center for a class, I passed a woman who was just heading out. She had a long blond ponytail, and over her shoulder was a purple yoga bag with her mat strapped underneath. Following close behind her was her adorable “mini me”—a little girl, about 5 or 6, with a long blond ponytail, toting a rolled-up pink yoga mat almost as big as she was.
A yoga teacher’s suggestion to invert has the power to illicit a range of emotions from students: bewilderment, fear, anxiety, aversion, rejection, excitement, butterflies — you fill in the blank.
Purposely turning ourselves upside-down is contrary to our physical nature, and yet the benefits of upending ourselves are many. Just as yoga gently encourages us to move away from any unconscious habitual patterns, the invitation to invert is simply another way to shake things up, step out of a rut.
I don’t mean to Bikram-bash, but my first yoga studio experience happened to be in a Bikram studio, and it wasn’t great. What turned me off the most about the experience was the energy in the room. Nobody was smiling. I can’t stand being places where no one’s smiling — my defense mechanisms kick in, among them a very snarky sense of humor. I found myself trying to fight laughter from the jokes I was telling myself internally to qualm the awkwardness, while staying as silent externally as everyone else. It’s difficult to ground yourself and balance on one foot when you’re shaking at your core from fighting hysterical laughter!
This isn’t the way a yoga class should be. Yoga is fun. I enjoy the practice. So why do most yogis seem so serious all the time?
Congrats! You made it to the tenth and final week of the Better Body and More Energy Challenge! I knew you could do it.
For your last assignment, I’d like to you tie together everything you’ve learned about nutrition and fitness over the past nine weeks. Don’t worry — it sounds more daunting than it really is!
A while back, I had a client who was struggling with his weight. Unfortunately, he felt about as excited about exercising as he did about doing laundry. We dug into his athletic past and found that he had been discouraged by his physical abilities, which had turned into a near fear of moving his body.
We both knew that he would have to exercise to achieve his weight-loss goals, so I encouraged him to think about what physical activities he had enjoyed as a child, before the fears started building. After all, all children like to play.
I know it might sound obnoxious at first and that I sound a little like Martha Stewart with that headline, but I like the idea of raising gourmet kids. By “gourmet,” I don’t mean kids who demand white tablecloths and truffle oil. What I mean is simply someone with an appreciation of good food. Here’s how Webster’s defines it:
Are you having fun yet? I think of fun in two ways. First there’s the possibility of actually enjoying a new behavior. That’s especially easy when we’ve chosen something potentially fulfilling — learning the two-step, getting to know your new neighborhood, getting the pile of papers off your desk, following your dream of getting a pilot’s license. The more you can find ways to make your new habit fun, the more likely you’ll stick to it. Do it with friends, create a contest with your kids to see who’s better at it, make it into a silly game.