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.

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