How Yoga Helped Me Achieve My Goals

Prior to a few months ago, I never would have thought that an activity like yoga could help me to make important life changes. Yet just a few months ago, I began turning to yoga for not just a workout, – but as a way to minimize one of the more stressful times during my doctorate degree (preparing for my comprehensive exams!).

 

 

 

While yoga was in no way new to me, I suddenly felt that I was ready for a regular yoga routine, which turned out to be about three yoga sessions per week. In fact, this new routine was not difficult to commit to because after just a few yoga sessions I began to crave my yoga practice. I began to experience several benefits right away. First, I noticed that my internal reactions to stress, while quite normal in intensity, diminished vastly. It was like a loosening of a grip, or a process of being able to let go of any worries, trepidations, or over-attachments to my thoughts. It was not that I suddenly took my work less seriously, but I just lost the hasty reaction of allowing my mind to dig deeper into any negative thoughts.

 

 

A second basic benefit was that yoga presented me with a tangible time and place to go to when I was feeling crabby about my work or when I felt that sense of numbing boredom that would sometimes arise from working too much, on too many things. Doing a yoga practice allowed me to turn inward, a process that for me, doesn’t happen in any of my other vigorous workouts. If this turning inward process does occur, it is to a much smaller extent. Rather than being focused on my external world, regular yoga enabled me to withdraw, detach, and to focus on a calming place within that brought me a sense of equanimity. Some people had suggested to me that my “benefits” were due to exercise I was already doing at the time. However, I have spent a lifetime being a gym junkie, regular jogger and swimmer. I was already reaping the benefits of good str ess management from doing regular workouts of jogging, biking, and fitness classes 4-5 times a week. My new yoga routine however, presented me with an entirely new set of psychological benefits in addition to my regular fitness routines.

 

 

A third way yoga has been helpful to me is that it enabled me to become more intentional. My lifelong intention has always been to exercise first thing in the morning. Prior to my regular yoga practices, for the past several years, I’d intend on doing morning or early morning workouts, but either felt guilty for putting them before my work, or I would simply not have the motivation or energy upon waking to get up and exercise, first thing. Thus, I would usually exercise late afternoon or evening. The strange thing about the yoga was that suddenly, I was able to rise in the mornings, and somehow have the energy, or intentionality to follow through with exercising before my workday. While this might sound like a minor or trivial issue, it was a very pleasant surprise and addition to my lifestyle.  

 

 

A fourth benefit I experienced was a delightful shock. For many years I would talk about my desire to quit my addiction to coffee. I love coffee! However, I noticed over the years, tiny and subtle ways that I was becoming sensitive to my one, and sometimes two cups of daily coffee. I even read an entire book on the topic several years ago, but I think at some level I didn’t believe I could actually quit, or I believed that it would be too hard. Then, over the course of a few mornings, after my favourite cup of homemade coffee, I noticed that my head would hurt, I would become very fatigued, and feel unwell.  After a few days of this new awareness, one morning I spontaneously told myself that I was done with coffee. I was miraculously detached and withdrawn from my usual love affair with coffee. I was flabbergasted at how easy it was to suddenly not need, or want, my usual cup of coffee. It felt a bit like magic, but I’m telling you, this was no joke!  I attribute it to my yoga practice and the corresponding self-awareness, intentionality and energy that I gained from the practice. More than ever I became very in tune with the negative effects that coffee was having on me.

 

These are just a few of the ways in which yoga has helped me to achieve my goals and to make important life changes. The list of benefits is growing and soon I hope to share even more about my journey with yoga! I’m interested in hearing more about your own experiences with yoga and how it’s helped you to make changes in your life! Please write to me at allisonfoskett@live.ca

Weekend Workout Inspiration


Are you tempted to end your work week along with your workouts when the weekend comes? Don’t confuse the week-end with the end of your workout efforts! You can raise your standards, and create new choices today, to keep your weekend workout motivation in full gear!

 

My Personal Weekend Workout Inspiration

I work full-time like most people. I regularly work out during the week, but there are often times when my weekend arrives, and I find myself feeling resentful to that part of me that is berating myself to get to the gym. Given that I only have two day weekend like most people, the spontaneous side of me wants to just do as it pleases, in a spontaneous manner.

A workout can be seen as an interruption, an annoyance, a chore, a dull routine, or even worse – a punishment for not looking the way one wants to look. A weekend workout can feel as though it stalls your day from getting started. It can even feel as though it steals the better part of your day, especially if you have slept in.

I would often mentally plan the evening before to workout first thing in the morning, but when that morning came, the part of me that was being called on to ‘step up to the plate’, felt uninterested in the workout. Have you ever experienced this cognitive dissonance before? “Argh”, is how it feels!

You feel torn between two values – the desire to be free – to roam about your day as you spontaneously feel, and the desire to stay disciplined, and engaged in a routine that you know will give you a great return on the investment of your time! In fact, this latter point is key to your workout inspiration whether it be for the weekend or week!

 

The Return on Your Weekend Investment will Increase your Workout Inspiration

Just think of how much vitality and goodness your weekend workout gives you. Don’t think of it as a hassle that eats up the prescious time of your weekend. Once you get in the routine of working out on the weekends, this will act as positive reinforcement and increase your workout inspiration, simply because you will love how great you continue to feel on the weekends.

Just after your workout on the weekend, take note of how great you feel. Ask yourself if you wish you’d rather not have worked out. I guarantee that you will never regret the choice that you worked out on your weekend.

 

As The Traditional Advice Goes…

To increase your workout inspiration write a list of all the unique benefits you’ll enjoy as a result of continuing your workouts on the weekend. Remember that everyone wants to move toward pleasure, and move away from pain! So, the second list you can write is a list of all the discomfort you will experience if you don’t exercise on the weekends.

 

Let Gluttony Drive your Weekend Exercise Motivation Inspiration

Most people end up living a little on the gluttonous side when the weekend comes. If you are going to be indulging in fancy dinners, and sipping a little extra wine or booze, then use this as workout inspiration, to keep you in action with your workouts! You can’t afford to not keep your metabolism in high gear, so you’d better make sure you continue to burn those calories!

 

Weekend Workouts Make You Eat Healthier!

If you do workout regularly on the weekend, you are more likely to make healthier eating choices on the weekend. When you feel confident, fit, healthy, strong, and when overall you feel good about your body, you are more conscious about what you eat. Nobody wants to dump garbage in their body around the time that they’ve finished a workout!

So, let this knowledge be your weekend workout inspiration! Working out on the weekend will most likely reduce the amount of unhealthy foods you eat.  You’ll come out on top by having worked out, and eaten healthy.

 

Don’t Let the Weekend Steal Your Workout Inspiration and Momentum!

If you don’t workout on the weekends, and if you do indulge in unhealthy foods on the weekends, then overtime, you will slowly but surely begin to counter all your workout efforts from the entire week!

If you don’t consistently bring your workout routine into your weekends, then when Monday comes, psychologically, you might be at greater risk for not heading back to the gym, or back to your regular routine. Here’s how this goes based on my personal observations…

If you haven’t worked out on the weekend, and if you overeat, then you’re probably not going to feel as good about yourself. As a result, as you forecast your week ahead, your dismal attitude may cause your workout inspiration to ween.

I know for myself, if I let too many weekends go without exercising, I begin to feel sluggish, and this sluggish feeling begins to affect my self-discipline when Monday morning arrives. I have often thought, “Oh, I haven’t worked out all weekend, – what’s one more day?”

Or, if I haven’t exercised on the weekend, and if I haven’t eaten healthy, (and therefore I’m operating out of a “unhealthy mode”) then I am also less likely to plan on getting things ready for my early morning workout. This usually presents itself in the form of not getting to bed early, and therefore not making it to my early morning workout.

 

Weekend Workout Structure Increases Productivity

Having some sort of structure in your weekend, i.e., working out, will actually make you a lot more productive. The items on your ‘to-do list’ that once seemed like hassles, will now be a lot easier and more enjoyable to tackle. You’ve begun your day or weekend with a great investment in YOU, and now you are ready to give energy to the world, to your relationships and any necessary tasks that present themselves.

 

Good Technology Will Increase Your Weekend Workout Inspiration

Invest in a good iPod or MP3 player, and be sure to have some great, upbeat music handy. Just knowing that I have good music to look forward to listening to, really increases my workout inspiration. If you need to spend 200 dollars to buy this equipment, then so be it. Can you really put a price on your fitness and health?

 

Learn from Role Models to Increase Your Weekend Workout Inspiration!

Think of the thin, fit, and healthy people that you know of. What mindsets do they hold to increase their weekend workout inspiration? Would they allow their workout inspiration to ween on the weekends? We both know the answer is no!

Fit people workout weekends or week-middle. Rain or sunshine. Hot or cold. Feeling lethargic or not – they are willing to do whatever it takes, and you need to be the same!

So, will you still confuse the week-end with the end of your workout efforts! No! Keep it going! You can do it!