yoga is not for me or i’m not for yoga?
So many people have suggested I take up yoga to compliment my surfing. From yoga teachers, which isn’t really surprising, to surf instructors, friends, seasoned yogis, new yoga converts and pretty much every article I read about surf fitness includes a yoga for surfing video or guide of some sort.
You can read about Kernow Surf Girl’s recent adventures in hot yoga for surfing here .
Despite taking up numerous activities I’ve managed to avoid yoga . Why? Well, I’ve been a bit scared of it to be honest. Seeing the lithe, slim, beauties coming out of yoga classes at surfcamps is intimidating. They look like they would have no problem getting into position, that holding their tiny body weight on one finger would be a piece of cake (or maybe not hence the lithe) I can’t even sit cross legged because my right knee won’t go down . I’ve always thought yoga just wasn’t for me and I’ve ended up seeking out bonkers, boisrous things like insanity and circuits.
The feeling that I’m not an ideal candidate for yoga is in part down to the way I’ve interpreted it, as the domain of the affluent, honey haired, yummy mummies and the Gwyneth Paltrows of this world where as I am more Rebel Wilson .
I’ve told myself that I have enough things I’m struggling to master without adding another one. I have visions of falling on my face and sweating like a beast in my first class , of being laughed at by the beautiful people who don’t have a hair out of place, then me sulking and never going back. So, the idea of yoga has been put in a box, sealed and hidden at the back of a cupboard.
However, my love surfing is greater than my fear of inadequacy and I need to improve and get out of the beginner stage I’ve been stuck in for two years. So, much to my delight and fear in equal measure, a friend who also happens to be a yoga teacher, Ayurvedic Wellness Consultantt, co director of Santosa Wellness and all round goddess of peace and calm, suggested she could help me get started. Why on earth I hadn’t discussed this with her before I don’t know.
TOMORROW I’LL BE AN ABSOLUTE BEGINNER YOGI
Tomorrow I’ll meet her to get my bespoke yoga practice, we’ll go through it all together so I can be sure I’m doing things right ready for practicing at home, I can ask questions and she can catch me when I fall. She’s made me feel confident and comfortable that yoga is for anyone and I feel pretty excited. Report on my progress to come.
resolution versus revolution
We made it through January hooorahh. Nights are getting a little lighter and even though it’s cold and windy and still clearly winter it’s rather warming to think that March is in touching distance, closely followed by spring.
Four weeks ago, pretty much everyone I know made a New Year’s Resolution around food, activity or booze. Most were the result of opulent living over Christmas. So, four weeks in, how are people’s resolutions going?
New Year’s resolution are usually laced with the regret and guilt of Christmas. Often, because we feel pretty rotten we want results fast and our expectations are really high. A resolution by definition is a firm decision to do or not to do something. So, essentially it’s a strict rule. It’s an I will do this or I won’t do that. The problem for me is that the breaking of the rule or the resolution is a catastrophic failure, there’s little room for flexibility.
I have not seen many people succeeding with their resolutions. All around me I’m hearing and reading, mostly from women , ‘ I’ve been good, I’ve been bad, I fell off the wagon, I’ll start again tomorrow, I ONLY lost half a pound what’s the point, I had a bad week, I need to refocus, start again on Monday’. I must admit, these are all words that have fallen out of my mouth, the type of words that do nothing apart from chip away at your motivation until there is none left.
Don’t get me wrong I’m very goal driven and a big advocate of having something to aim for as it helps motivation but, I like to try and set positive goals. See my post How to Recover from a Debauched Christmas. I can’t live with rules so narrow that it’s inevitable I’ll break them and beat myself up about it. I have been guilty of this in the past and learnt it does not get you anywhere apart from stuck where you are and miserable.
change of ideas
Stuff resolutions, I’m all about Revolution. By definition revolution is a forcible overthrow in favour of a new system. A few years back when I first embarked on my own health and fitness mission, which is still a work in progress, I overthrew the bad habits I’d had for years, the negative thinking and guilt, the cycle of setting the goals too high and always failing .
Most importantly, I stopped believing in the myth that there is a quick fix for everything . There isn’t. This myth is fed to us by shows such as the biggest loser and myriad celebrity diets and fads which only serve to make us normal people with limited time and money, feel like we aren’t doing enough and we need to try harder. So, we buy the book, join the slimming club, join the gym, buy the pills and keep the diet industry’s tills stuffed.
So, I set myself a new type of goal. For the first time ever a goal that would be fun and make me happy. To get fit and lose some timber in order to have a fighting chance at learning to surf rather than to stop being a fat munter which was the kind of language I used before, how is that even a goal? Well, it’s not, it’s a giant shit stick and that’s why it never worked. The key to success was going to come from a revolution in my thinking and it would all start in my head, not necessarily with what was on the end of my fork.
My revolution was quiet and not extreme in any way. I adopted a lifestyle in which moving more and eating right most of the time have become the new normal. I made changes so small they can be sustained, a weekend or even a week of drinking and eating whatever I want is ok. I don’t have strict rules so I can’t break them and declare a catastophic fail. I’m determined to no longer be driven by guilt. I get my motivation from the positive effects my efforts have on my well being and of course my ability to surf.
Interestingly the one place I have seen lots of people succeeding and feeling great this month is in the running community. Particularly the runners page This Girl Can Running. The excitement, the positive language the girls are using, the celebration of even the smallest progress and the support and encouragement on that page is inspiring. Take a look here. These ladies of all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities are feeling good about themselves and it shows. If you want some motivation go and read some of the threads.
Playing the long game, a more relaxed approach and not having unrealistic expectations has worked. Taking up activities that make me feel good has worked. Having positive motivation has worked. Wanting to stay in good health as I approach my middle years has worked. As it stands it averages out that I’ve lost half a pound a week for 30 months and that’s awesome. Sometimes I don’t make any progress for weeks on end and I have also now experienced that health and fitness aswell as my commitment to the revolution goes in cycles and that’s ok.
As the short lived fads and resolutions of others fade into the past I will keep moving forward, slowly but, always moving, experiencing small changes, celebrating small victories and enjoying a nice cake and a bottle of wine when I want one.
If this is what revolution looks like, Vive La Revolution , fill my glass!
An unexpected Half Marathon
I did a half marathon on Sunday! As regular readers will know, I withdrew from this race a few weeks ago due to fitness issues and self doubt but, after a 4 day solo surf trip to Newquay getting back to what’s important, namely surfing, I had a change of heart. On my trip I met some geniunely inspiring and lovely Surf Senioritas who I hope to spend more time with in the future. Thankyou Mellow Waves and The Days I for the marathon 3 hour power chat and the hot chocolate. Connecting with these girls in person was great, we have such familiar joys and trials with our surfing despite being at differing levels. I felt I’d met them before. I had a great surf with some new friends and I also booked a trip to Morocco one rainy afternoon at Matt’s Surf Lodge . This all injected me with some much needed positivity and suddenly I had motivation again, I was in the gym, running at lunch times, feeling good and I made a decision to attempt the race with just four days to go. This is how I found myself at the start line of the half marathon on Sunday morning!
On the day I really wasn’t sure I’d make it, I was running 10 miles farther than I had for months but, I got my head down and got on with it, my goal was just to finish in one piece even if I had to run/walk most of it. I mind surfed most of way around especially after mile 8 to distract myself from knee pain and muscles like burning stones. I surfed waves I’ll never see with skills I’ll never have in a lovely wetsuit of my own invention, all the while trying to zone out from what I was actually doing . I did it, I got this medal and t shirt and somehow finished just 36 seconds behind last years time despite not training. What a great boost to get me going on my training for my upcoming surf trip.
So, on to the next goal. Morocco, in 6 weeks. I’m going to Surfstar for a week and I’m super excited. But, after a summer of excusable inactivity I really need to shed some of the weight I gained and get some strength built up again in order to get the most out of my surf trip. I’m not a weight obsessive but, I keep it in check. Just 2 years ago I weighed about 17 stone, I worked hard and patiently to get 4 and a half stone off through lifestyle changes rather than a fad diet and I still have a way to go. To put 10lb on really scared me. How easily I could be headed back to morbid obesity! My new size, health and well being still feels pretty new to me and not quite set in stone yet. I felt like I needed a bit of a kick start to get things moving again.
So, what’s this got to do with this picture of Guniea Pigs? Throughout my weight loss journey I used a funny weight comparison list to put my losses into perspective. Healthy, life long weight loss is not about big loss numbers but, the small numbers consistently adding up. This list made me laugh and helped me see how far I had come. My current goal is to drop 12lb, an average Guinea pig weighs 1lb therefore…………………..meet my next goal!