I have been really into Yin Yoga lately. It's a style of yoga that has had my heart for years now, but that I have never made a priority. I love that it encourages letting go, surrendering, and coaxing the body into remarkable progress and healing. I simply adore the feeling of knowing that whatever my body is capable of in that moment, it is enough, and it is doing good. So often with running, or lifting, or a myriad of other activities, I simply do not feel that I am doing enough to bring about positive benefits. It seems like you always have to push just **that much**beyond what you are already doing in order to see real and substantial progress.
I feel like a failure an awful lot in my health and fitness journey. I didn't get in enough workouts, I felt fatigued, I just didn't push as hard as I should have. All of this negativity creeps in, and suddenly, the fact that health and fitness is a process, a gradual and eventual set of steps that opens up a world of possibilities feels instead like an end result. In practicing yin yoga, I remember that health and fitness are the tools by which I am able to live my life and my dreams more fully. I remember that even doing one or two good things for myself is infinitely better that ignoring that which my body truly needs.
As I collapse further into poses, and mindfully control my breathing, I realize that not all exercise has to be full-out in order to benefit me. That in our Insanity, T25, P90X culture, we are constantly trying to speed up processes that deserve time, and patience, and constance, and devotion. There is a place for the fast and furious; there is also a place for the stillness, and looking within. I am able to take the time in poses to realize that every body is different, and must take a different path. I may wish that I could walk the "results in 90 days" path, but as many times as I have tried, I have experienced pain, exhaustion, failure, and injury.
I always walk away from these quiet yin yoga sessions with a new found perspective and understanding of what it is that I ask of my body, and what I must be willing to do in order to meet my aims. My body is one that enjoys the slow, methodical, small, hard-fought gains. There is a reason why I always gravitate back towards my yoga mat, regardless of how far I might stray. It's because it works for me, in a way that little else does. And it teaches me about myself, in a gentle, forgiving, light-hearted way, reminding me that self betterment is not something that happens in a day, a week, or even a year. It is something that takes lifetimes to achieve.