Learning to love…

Yesterday was so full of love that I thought today it might be fun to flip the script and talk a little bit about the things we don’t love so much.  Not so much the things we hate, but the things we just don’t like, particularly as they pertain to their counterparts, the things we’re quite fond of.  Are you picking up what I’m putting down here?

How about an example to get us started: I love yoga (yes, I know you know this already, bear with me), but there are things about it that I can’t stand sometimes.  I can be going along through my practice when all of a sudden a pose will be cued and my brain will just say, “NO.  I’m not doing that.  No way, just forget it.  I HATE that pose and I won’t be doing it.”  The majority of the time I’m able to shush that little yoga-hating voice and push through the pose, but sometimes I give in.  I’ll let myself fall out of the pose without really trying to hold it, I’ll kind of half-ass it, or I just won’t do it.  Of course when you’re practicing yoga, opting out of a pose is okay, but I’ve always thought you should do it for the right reasons.  Not doing a pose just because you don’t like it?  Hrm, not really the right reason.

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During the practice I did tonight, I was confronted several times by poses I really don’t like: rotated triangle, standing split, and dolphin pose (this is the order in which they are pictured above).  I’m not a huge fan of twisting poses in general, and rotated triangle sometimes makes me think that there some hidden Sadist element to Yogic philosophy.  When I do a standing split, I feel a little bit like a dog lifting its leg to pee.  Honestly, I don’t think I ever get beyond a 45 or maybe 50 degree angle on that one.  And dolphin just makes me feel inadequate.  My heels touch the ground in downward facing dog, so why don’t they in dolphin?!

Here’s the ugly truth about my relationship with these poses: I don’t like them because they point out to me that there are some poses that I don’t do as well as others, that there are areas of my body that need more strengthening, and that there are other areas of my body that need more opening.  It’s totally a vanity thing for me.

The same thing goes for running.  Obviously, I love running.  But don’t try to get me to do any speed work.  If I do somehow end up doing it, I end up dwelling on how painful it is almost the whole time.  I bargain with myself, and try to find ways to allow myself to ease up on the pace a little bit.  “Just run faster to that tree up there, and then you can add 45 seconds to your rest interval!”  I can be pretty creative when it comes to ways to cheat doing speed work.

Ultimately, though, being so negative about the things I don’t like doing is costing me.  When I give up on a yoga pose because it makes me feel like a yoga n00b, I’m guaranteeing that I’ll never get to a point where I can actually get into the pose’s fullest expression.  And when I cheat on speed work, I’m guaranteeing that I’ll never get any faster (which of course, won’t stop me from complaining that I’m not getting any faster).

I guess it’s time to try learning to love these things.  Or, if not love them, then at least not reject them out of hand.  I need to make an effort to work on the things that I want to avoid most, because that’s where there’s the most room for growth.  This is definitely something I’m going to start focusing on more.  And maybe I’ll make it March’s monthly goal, since I’m still working on follow through February.

What things in life do you dislike and find yourself avoiding?  Are they health- or fitness-related, or are they in other areas of your life?  Have you ever thought about trying to change the way you feel about them?

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  1. i avoid phone conversations. i mean, i talk on the phone. but catch-up conversations with friends who live out of state are hard for me. i always get into the mindset that we’ve gone so long without a chat, that we’ll have SO MUCH to catch up on, so i put it off even more. i don’t dislike the conversations actually once we get going, but i have such a hard time beginning or initiating them! i know that’s a little off topic from your post today, but it came to my mind immediately when reading!

    1. That’s funny, I’m also bad about phone calls, although not just to friends. WIth me it’s phone calls to anyone. I don’t know what it is exactly about picking up the phone and making a call, but it always makes me so anxious!

  2. Me too w/the phone conversations and also emails to friends and family. Once I do pick up the phone or sit down at my gmail account, everything goes swimmingly. It’s just making that initial effort. Maybe I need to change the way I think about doing these things, but I have no idea how to do that.

  3. I really don’t like cleaning…and I have two little kids who seem to increase the entropy factor in my house by about a million. If I can manage to get into the right headspace, then I can actually bear it, but mostly it is a chore. Once things are clean, things look nice for about 10 minutes, and then the troops descend. I would much rather be doing yoga (even the poses I hate)!!!!!

  4. HAHAHAHA I had no idea standing split was even supposed to look like that until now, even though I’ve been doing it (in some form) for months in my yoga class. Clearly, you’re not the only person who isn’t Gumby. My worst poses are Camel – for some reason when I start to lean back into it I feel really anxious and like throwing up! and sadly enough, chataranga. My arms are just not strong enough to do that pose even after trying for many months 😦 I do feel a bit deficient in that area!!!
    And honestly, I can never keep my balance in Eagle. Also annoying.

    1. EVERY TIME I’m in a class and we’re supposed to do standing split I just think how the hell does anyone get into this position? Like what, exactly, does it take? I should look into preparatory poses for it, maybe.

      It took me a really long time to be able to do chatturanga, and even now my arms are sometimes like nope, that’s not happening. You’ll get there!

  5. umm. most of my yoga poses are nothing like what they are *supposed* to look like 🙂

    i can barely lift my leg up while in downdog – where you reach it up/back and then bring it forward into lunge in the warrior flows (at least that’s what my dvd calls them). so yeah, no standing splits here.

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