How hard do you have to work to relax?

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Hot Yoga, really hard work to find peace of mind and relaxation

I think Yoga is my new favorite four letter word.  My 2012 New Year’s blog included a well-rounded summertime snapshot where my physique resembled the beer can I was holding.  I also included that photo in my very first column last week for the popular Faith and Fitness Magazine: I’m the one writer who is “not a fitness guy.”  Check it out if you want a little chuckle.

The strategy of that self-deprecating commentary was to see if I could rise to a whole new level of self-discipline, buoyed by the encouragement and accountability of the court of public opinion.  My 2012 Seven Fs goal is to learn to enjoy ‘fitness.’  I asked you for advice and the Success Habits you provided resembled a virtual avalanche — from P90X, to fasting, to training for a marathon (yeah right.)  But the “Hot Yoga” suggestion is the one that caught my fancy.

Ok, Ok...I'll keep tryingA very successful woman friend raved about the benefits of stretching, balancing and sweating buckets 3-4 times a week.  As my curiosity grew, I turned to Google to see what I was getting myself into.  I learned three things: 1) The skin is our body’s largest organ — the health benefits of sweating out our stress toxins (coffee and beer included) are appealing.  2) Yoga improves core strength, balance and flexibility — all things necessary for playing golf well.  And 3) Yoga improves focus, concentration, and it teaches type-A people like me how to relax.  With all those benefits…how could I say ‘no!?’

My first class was four days ago and I’m still as sore as Michelle Bachman’s pride.  It is obvious to me my friend led me down the on-ramp of the Indianapolis 500 speedway on my ten-speed Schwinn bicycle.  At one point the instructor actually said to me:  “that’s good Paul…now you can lean back in that position.  I grunted: “I thought I was leaning back!” The lady next to me tried to apologize as she broke into laughter.

As I gazed into my own eyes in the half-fogged mirror wall, I couldn’t clear my mind of my “earthly thoughts” as I was commanded to do…all I could think about was this:  “how hard do I have to work at being relaxed?” Honest to Jody, I couldn’t even get the hang of the laying down on the mat thing right.

At the end of the day — I think it was worth it.  Spending 90 minutes in a Hot Yoga studio in the middle of a Minnesota winter is awesome.  And after sweating out a six pack, my skin felt as radiant as the women on the Cosmopolitan magazine covers. I’m finding the humiliation to be motivating: I’m going to go back there and show myself  I can work hard enough at Yoga to actually learn to “listen to my body” and “clear my earthly thoughts” and enjoy the sight of myself when I’m told to “gaze into your own eyes.”

Good leaders know how to swallow their own pride and surrender to the experts when the time is right. So, what do you think, should I sign up for some personal Yoga lessons, learn to focus, concentrate and relax, even if it kills me?

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2 Comments

  1. Denise Hite Bunch on February 9, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Paul, I think you should keep it up and try again, maybe another modality and style, ….keep going the relaxation will come sooner or later…
    I am confident that even you can relax……….



  2. Denise Hite Bunch on February 9, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Paul, I think you should keep it up and try again, maybe another modality and style, ….keep going the relaxation will come sooner or later…
    I am confident that even you can relax……….



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