I don't get to yoga very often. In fact, I almost never go unless I'm visiting my family and friends in New Jersey. I like it mostly for the quality time it affords me with my mom (and often my dad, too) and the mental and spiritual introspection that happens while I'm on the mat. It's something I love to do, but it's tough for me to make the effort to find a class where I live with which I truly connect. I connect with Joe Gandarillas‘ class at Yoga Montclair in NJ. There's something about Joe's way of helping me to re-center and re-focus my thoughts on the less physical practice of yoga that I love. He always inspires me to shift some perspective that I've had.
My most recent “Joega” class gave me some perspective on the concepts of strength and flexibility.
When Joe brought up these concepts the class, I knew that he wanted us to think about the physical practice of yoga, but also to connect them to what we do in our everyday lives off the mat. I easily connected the notions of strength and flexibility to how I live every single day. As you well know by now, I follow a certain way of eating and living that I feel are fueled by my education about health. It takes a certain strength to maintain this lifestyle. That strength has developed over time, much the way one's physical strength develops over time. It's not something that happens overnight, but rather with small steps over many years of learning and making changes along the way. Without knowing WHY I live the way I do, the flexibility to step outside of my norm wouldn't exist.
|While these will help make
you strong, this is not what
I'm talking about today!
STRENGTH is in the forethought and planning to ensure that the foods I want to eat are accesible to me on a regular basis, even when I'm away from home. This may mean taking some extra time one day to shop or cook extra food either before or while on the trip so that I'll have it to eat.
flexibility is in the ability to make a decision on-the-fly when my first choice isn't somehow available. This may mean scouring the local 7-11 for a hard boiled egg or some nuts if I somehow didn't make enough food for snacks or if a family member ate my leftovers.
STRENGTH is in the desire to become educated about food, how it either fuels my body properly or works against me.
|What do you think about
when you're on the mat?
flexibility is in the ability to allow myself to enjoy a piece of chocolate or some creme brulee because I know it's not the end of the world to have a bit of sugar sometimes.
When it comes to a diet or lifestyle, strength and flexibility are really found the sum of your actions on the whole. It's what you do regularly that ends up defining you, not some label or the small diversions (some may call them “cheats”) here or there. Having strength and conviction because you're educated and knowledgable is fantastic, but being careful not to be so rigid and inflexible so that you're bound and helpless in different situations makes you human. If you know WHY you do what you do, then you will know WHEN you can take a step off of your usual path and then easily step right back onto your path thereafter.
What do you do to maintain both strength and flexibility in your daily life?
(And for the CrossFitters out there, I'm not talking about lifting heavy weights and following that up with a Mobility WOD!)