I Blew My Streak of Daily Yoga, and That’s a Good Thing

Well, I blew it. My daily yoga practice is pffft…zoom…gone. Yesterday was core strength yoga day and I didn’t do it.

Of course, what I did do was my breathing exercises, followed be weight training, followed by my breathing exercises. You know, the exact pattern I use for evening yoga, just with weight training substituted for the core strength yoga.

So, as when I blew up my daily walk routine by substituting a bike ride for the walk, while I blew up the yoga streak, I didn’t blow up the real streak. I do the core strength yoga for one single purpose, strength training. Well, what is weight training but strength training?

As I have been working my way back into shape, one of the key problems I have had is that I lost the habit of exercise. Because of this, while I had to exercise to get back in shape, I also had to practice the practice, to get back the habit of exercise.

I hate weight training.

In the summer of ’90 I was working in concrete; 10 hours a day of slugging around 80lb buckets of concrete, and casting 30 test samples. The test area, where I poured the sample, had to be level and shady, so it was never near the truck, which meant hauling those 80lb buckets (one each hand) to the test area. Great whole body workout, that was.

Then the test samples had to be taken a protected area to cure, which meant carrying them with one hand for support, and the other hand for balance (so as not to disturb the contents of the casting cylinder). In effect, multiple times a day I was holding a 30lb half curl while walking up to 100 yards. I had to cast 4 samples per truck, and this walking 1/2 curl would exhaust the supporting arm bicep, so I alternated. This had the expected effect of building one hell of a lot of whole body strength.

Long story short, in the summer of ’90 I got ripped.

In September, the summer of hard labour was over, and I was back to school. I looked awesome, and I wanted to stay looking awesome, so I started lifting 3 days a week. This weightlifting practice taught me 2 things.

First, I’m not naturally big (I’m a classic ectomorph, as it happens). It took somewhere around 6 weeks, maybe 8, for all that beautiful muscle to go away. In spite of all the resistance training I was doing.

Second, I hate weight training. It. Is. Fucking. Boring. And, I suppose, it didn’t help that 2 hours, three times a week was insufficient to keep the muscle on, so the boredom was compounded with a feeling of uselessness.

What does this have to do with core strength yoga?

Just as I had to redevelop the habit of aerobic exercise doing something that didn’t turn me off, and a brisk walk listening to music was a perfect choice, I had to redevelop the habit of strength training. Hating weightlifting as much as I do, and loving yoga/Pilates as much as I do, a core strength routine (with elements of Pilates) was the obvious exercise.

One of the greatest issues with transformation is barriers. New Years Resolutions to “get in shape” fail primarily because of the barriers of; motivation, lack of habit and delayed onset muscle soreness. If I was to make the successful transformation back into regularly (habitually) doing an exercise I hate, I had to lower those barriers.

Motivation is no real barrier for me, but habit and DOMS certainly were. So I did weeks of tough core training to get back the habit of sweating through strength training, while gaining back enough muscle tone that DOMS wouldn’t be too big an issue after I restarted weight training.

And last night, I finally made the leap to doing it.

And it sucked.

I only did 2/3 of the workout, with less weight than I would normally use, deliberately so, in order that I not be too sore today to be able to do my regular posture maintenance (back strength/spine and shoulder mobility) yoga.

And though it sucked, it worked. I’ve restarted weight training, and I’m not too sore to do my posture yoga tonight.

So, as with giving up the surface streak of daily walks, yet not giving up the real streak of daily aerobics, I gave up the surface streak of daily yoga, without giving up the real streak of alternate day’s resistance/strength training.

The key is relearning by practicing the practice.