|"Embiggen" this photo to get a better view of the exuberant, joyful transformation of the formerly drab, industrial cement silos at Granville Island -- by Brazilian artists Os Gemeos as part of Vancouver Biennale|
My schedule hasn't meshed very well with yoga classes either, as my favourites (Rise'n'shine, Yin Yoga) run from 9:30-10:45. While I began the semester determined to manage two yoga classes a week, the afternoon session dropped out of my rotation by October, and this past month, with the extra demands of marking and of weekend trips to Vancouver, I've had several weeks without any class at all.
Developing confidence that I can, occasionally, maintain fitness with less output has not been easy. Quite the opposite. I feel distinctly un-easy when I feel 2, then 3, days pass without a workout. My preference, especially after having trained for the marathon earlier this year, is for 3 hour-long runs during the week, and a longer run on the weekend. To balance the running, I do best with two weekly stretching classes (yoga this past year, Pilates before that). But the reality of the academic year combined with our need/desire to visit family in Vancouver frequently means weeks without enough yoga to balance the running -- a recipe for injury; it also means that my exhaustion and my desperation for a quiet hour to myself, just resting or reading, gets pitted against my dogged allegiance to a training schedule.
Over the last few weeks, though, I've very consciously chosen to hold myself still at certain times, at the expense of a workout. Clearly, I've established enough discipline that getting out for a run (even in the cold and the dark!) isn't a struggle. Now the discipline, I recognize, is in trusting that my body isn't a lying sluggard when it wants to stay home with a book. I have a deeply seated tendency to accuse myself of laziness, so accepting stillness as part of my overall fitness approach requires a vociferous internal advocate. One day last week, the only completely unscheduled day in three weeks, a day when I had the whole quiet house to myself, that internal advocate helped me decide against going to yoga class in town. Against my worries that I hadn't yoga'd for a week, that I was going to begin a downward spiral that would see me injuring myself, then becoming slothful, then eating too much of the wrong foods. . . . Well, let's just say that a saner self prevailed, and I gave myself the gift of quiet.
Of course, I balanced the loss of the long, luxurious yoga classes with stretches spread out in small packages during the day, and I never let two weeks go by without a longer class. Similarly, while I've gone as long as a week, back in late November, without running, I've otherwise made sure to manage one short (8 or 9-kilometre) run and one longer run each week, and I've got my long run up to 18.5-kilometres at least once a month.
The goals just might include practising stillness more often. They might include more breaks, or experimenting with ways to maintain rather than always feeling I have to push ahead. They might include building in more fun to my run, more social time as part of my fitness.
Or the goal might be to register gratitude with each and every run.
Weather and scenery such as I ran through on Monday make that easy!
So tell me: do you struggle to make yourself work out? Or do you, like me, sometimes struggle to take a break? Does discipline come easily to you? Too easily? -- do you have to tell that taskmaster to back off occasionally? Do these issues of discipline show up in different areas of your life than your fitness? I must admit that I'm wondering how my impending retirement will affect, and be affected by, my discipline. . . .