I have lifted weights and practiced yoga off and on for many years. For non-fitness enthusiast this may seem like I’m working out my muscles, but all of us that flex our muscles are also learning life lessons. I take those lessons with me and apply them in other parts of my life. Here are 5 of them in no particular order
1. Don’t give up. If you’re learning nothing else from lifting heavy objects over and over or trying a new, slightly uncomfortable pose, it’s that you don’t give up. You will never get better if you give up. If you give up lifting 5 lb.’s then you’ll never make it to 15. Without poses that build your core and teach you how to have strong, stable arms now you can’t get do arm balances later And if you give up in Warrior I you’ll never make it to warrior III. All of your skills are a progression and if you just don’t give up you can get really good at whatever you want to be good at. You might stumble. You might stop and start. But don’t give up.
2. Be ok with uncomfortable. Trying a new pose is sometimes uncomfortable. So is speaking in front of a crowd or taking a test. If you can become comfortable with being a little uncomfortable doing something you love, then you can become a little more comfortable doing something uncomfortable that you might not love as much.
3. But, pain is your signal to stop. If you continue to lift weights when a joint hurts, you may end up with an injury that makes it so that you can’t lift weights at all. If you’re stretching to the point of pain in a pose, you’re going to far. If you keep running even though you have serious pain then you can develop a chronic condition that can sideline you for a long time. The same can be said of relationships with people. If they hurt, then you need to back off. Relationships aren’t supposed to hurt.
4. This will pass. Not every part of my practice is my favorite. Some days my balance is way off. But this part/day/workout will pass and pretty soon I’ll be back to doing what I enjoy. Life if like that. The bad parts don’t last forever and pretty soon you’re back to the parts that you love.
5. And if you can’t get back to the part you love then you might need some outside help. After doing similar activities for years, you can start to loose interest. You can’t remember why you started doing this in the first place. You start skipping things you once loved and pretty soon you’re not doing them at all. But then you find someone outside of yourself that really inspires you to go out and try again (a movie, magazine, trainer, etc.) and pretty soon you’re back to your old self. Sometimes in general we need something outside of ourselves to remember why we love life (our religion, a good friend, a therapist) and that’s ok too. We aren’t islands and sometimes we need outside motivation to get going again.
Can you think of any lessons you’ve taken from fitness or your yoga practice and use in everyday life? Let us know in the comments!