My Challenge with “Challenges”

As a personal trainer, I push people all the time. It’s kinda my thing. I challenge people to do things they ordinarily wouldn’t want to do by themselves. I listen to the goals that people have, and I come up with reasonable, healthy ways for them to acheive those goals. So, to say that I have difficulty with challenges may seem a bit off.

And, it’s not like I avoid challenges. In August, I decided to follow a Yoga Pose Challenge. The FaceBook invite asked us to select two poses to improve by the end of the month. Steve Currie, a fabulous yogi in Nova Scotia, was the guiding hand for this challenge. (You can check out his blog and work here:  http://www.currieyogagraphy.ca/blog) So, I saw the forum, chose bakasana (crow pose) and salamba sirsasana (supported headstand), and set my alarm so I could do this every morning.

First, let me say that starting with balance poses may not have been the best course of action. Not only do these types of poses require gobs of core strength, they require the mental focus to recruit said core into holding your body in the position. Secondly, I am somewhere between a beginning to intermediate yoga practicioner. Thirdly, I had no business choosing to attempt such difficult poses. I realized this on day 2 when I face planted into my yoga mat.

Brushing my ego off on day 3, I decided the only way to even attempt to accomplish this challenge, I needed to do more yoga. Toughening up my arm strength, pulling in my core, accepting that I would need to work harder were par for the course. This meant committing to doing yoga in a way I hadn’t beforehand. It meant showing up.

In total, I had twenty-five days of not achieving bakasana or salamba sirasana. Twenty-five days of falling flat on my face. Twenty-five days of cursing my upper body strength. Twenty-five days of studying online videos for tips. Twenty-five days of focusing my energy inwards, of calming my mind, of committing to a routine with a specific goal in sight. Twenty-five days of total failure.

It`s clear that my real challenge was to show up. I humbly admit that I am still unable to do crow pose.I further admit I often overestimate my personal level of fitness. I know that I am not alone in those types of assumptions! I guess that sometimes, the real challenge is to admit where we are before we can decide where we really want to go.

Overcoming Blog-Block

I have plenty to say.  Just ask anyone who knows me. Yet, now that I am almost a month into launching my very first blog, I have blog-block.

This is a curious feeling because I have been writing in some form or another for years and one would think that the ability to speak passionately and honestly about health and wellness would cause me to throw open the doors on my thoughts and the words would spill out and the blogs would simply write themselves and and and …

I have five posts written and saved to drafts. And, let’s not mention my little book of blog ideas. That thing has my best stuff. Yet, I log in and write another draft only to leave the thing to sit in the queue. The irony isn’t lost on me that this is what happens to us when we make plans to welcome making healthier choices into our lives. It always starts the same way: a new cookbook, a friend’s advice, a doctor’s warning. Each reason motivates us to start planning and strategizing. Each reason becomes the justification for putting time, effort, and resources into making things right. Each reason dims in importance as the daily tasks that kept us from welcoming the change in the first place.

Is it the newness and excitement that we like?

Taking that first (second, third?) step is daunting. The excitement rubs off and we are left with the shambles of a master plan. We say the timing was off, we second guess, we retreat in our old ways and habits, we surrender.

So, here’s to pushing forward. Here’s to letting the master plan be a guide rather than a one and only. Here’s to writing about my passion for wellness and forgetting all the rest.