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”)
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