How Slowing Down Changed My Life

From A Cardio Nut to Low-Intensity Exerciser: How Slowing Down Changed My Life

This blog post is a contribution by Anamaria Suciu. She has been attending yoga classes at Yogashala and the change she describes below definitely showed on the yoga mat! 

Overall, I’m a big proponent of finding a routine that works for you, and allowing yourself to change and evolve over time. Right now, I’m all about that Yoga & Pilates life combined with 2-3 times a week power brisk walking. Because that’s what my body wants. But maybe one day I’ll run a marathon again!

Wait a second…I jumped ahead…how did I get to this sports routine? How did it start with me?

Master a workout vs. being over a workout

I had spent several months working almost exclusively on building my running endurance and achieved my goal of being able to comfortably and consistently run 15-20 km three times a week. Even on the most cold and humid days I jogged the Meijendel dunes sporting a smile. For the first time in my life running was easy. I pounded the pavement with pride and joy and even gave up my resting days.

About two years ago, I realized that my body was over my workout. It became clear to me that I had become overly adapted to the 15 km run. The science of exercise and physiology had kicked in.

Here’s how I knew:

  • I woke up in the morning exhausted and bored by the thought of running.
  • I no longer ran like a graceful gazelle, but slogged through the streets like an overworked mule.
  • My body, mind and interest waned and as a result rejected the runs I had come to love and rely on to feel good.

Have you ever noticed that after you master a workout, your body suddenly rejects that very same routine you’ve been doing for months?

Signs that you’ve become overly accustomed to an exercise routine include:

  • Fatigue (despite doing a known workout for months)
  • Overuse injury (I had at least two severe injuries a year from injured running)
  • The loss of the fitness high (or “runner’s high”)

The change

I knew I needed a change but didn’t know the direction I needed to go. Yoga was certainly not on my ever to-do-list. Yoga, I thought, was for people with no physical condition and for the older and lazy and crazy people. Out of pure curiosity I decided to search online the Yoga styles taught in The Hague and I came across the Introduction course at Yogashala. The course didn’t necessarily change my mind about Yoga in general, but it made me curious. I was now ready to ask myself the “What if?” question…What if this is something good for my body? I wasn’t then thinking about my mind, yet.

Two years later, the stillness of  Yin yoga changed my perspective on time. Being still for more than one minute was the biggest challenge during a class. I had my difficulties in the beginning: my mind was wondering, I felt like I am wasting time not listening to at least a podcast or music. Just sitting still, doing “nothing” – it was the “nothing” that bothered me. It took me at least six months to understand that taking time to be fully present in whatever I was doing was not “nothing” but the greatest gift I had ever given to myself.

Off the mat & into daily life

How it changed my life off the yoga mat? I ran without head phones, I listened to the noises around me, I listened to my thoughts…

These days I take time to be fully present. I take time to enjoy the beauty around me and to be present when I go on vacation and meet my parents or friends. Has Yoga slowed down my life? For sure! But was I speeding? BIG TIME.

“Everybody comes to their own evolution in their own due time.”  Eckhart Tolle