In order to write this post I postponed it quite often. You can call it procrastination, you can call it laziness, you can call it priorities. No matter how you define it, but that’s part of my character. I like to be relaxed; don’t like deadlines, stress and pressure.
Long periods in my life I used to not even look at the clock. I was afraid of knowing what time it is, I perceived “time” as something binding.
Because I don’t like strict timelines I tend to procrastinate quite often. It doesn’t have devastating effect on my life so I just accept it. But as a person who is quite “relaxed” and a bit slower (than ‘modern pace’), I also never had time or energy for sport.
I know, and you know, that sport is highly recommended in order to improve well-being. It contribute to your brain (helps the brain generate new cells!), your mind (‘feel-good hormones’) and your body in so many ways that it is really ridiculous to count them now, It will take too much time and paper.
*it also contributes to longevity, if living a long time is your thing ;)
What I do want to tell you is how I integrated yoga into my life as a lazy procrastinating person.
If you are a type of person that cringe by the sound of the word ‘calories’, if you’re feeling sick when hearing the term ‘jogging’, if you really want to make time for sport and you really struggle to do it, then entering a vicious circle of guilt, I have some advises for you.
If you are lazy also when it comes to reading, here are some headers that can help you grasp the idea, then I will elaborate.
1. The time of the day – when your body and mind are on pick energy.
2. Train the will power muscle – do a little bit at a time (even just 10 minutes) for a consistent period of time (21 days straight).
3. The feeling BEFORE of fatigue and revulsion that dissolve later and replaced by a satisfying feeling of accomplishment.
I. First thing I would recommend you is to monitor your body and mind. It is called being mindful.
Today there are many apps that can help you monitor your body – however I believe in the good old fashioned ways. Pay attention to your feeling throughout the day – when are you hungry, when are you more focused, when are you more distracted and tired. When is your PICK hour of energy? When I monitored myself (it has to be also in the weekend when you do not need to wake up with an alarm and when your activity is different than sitting 9 hours).
I found out that on the hours: 11:00am and 19:00pm I am the most energetic!! I can open a watermelon with my bear hands! Kidding. But yeah – since then I enjoy more to practice Yoga on the weekends around 11, and on the week-days after work around 19:00.
There is no use to fight your body – go with it in collaboration. We all live our days with a biologic clock. During the morning hours we have more energy in our body and focus in the brain– during the evening hours close to sleep time – our body supposed to release pressure, relax, get into a sleep mode – that means also our eyes – take them away from screens, it confuses the brain which want to unwind and prepare for sleep.
II. Will power is not really a muscle, but researchers (and a lot are researching this fascinating topic) have found that it is located in our frontal cortex and like a muscle it can be trained.
Do something for 21 days straight – and it will be integrated to your routine as a new habit. So why not integrate new healthy rituals into our lives?
Do a sport activity every day, for a period of 3 weeks or a month. Make your-self a goal. But make it a small one! Because I know how you react when you just hear the word GOAL. Baaaaaaaa….. Right? I was really struggling to do yoga every day. I used to come home from a day at the office (and a long commute) – just wanting to relax and do nothing. Now what? I need to sport too? Baaaaaaaa.
However! When I told my brain it is ONLY 20 minutes. It is not a whole hour, it is not 45 minutes of sweat and misery; it is just 20 minutes. After that I can watch TV and be lazy as much as I want. It’s not so bad. Guess what? It worked. Today if I do not yoga every day I feel physically weird. It is so much presence in my life that I cannot imagine them without it.
Also you can see the body and mind changing, becoming stronger and that motivates you.
Soon you will do 40 minutes without blinking, and more and more gradually.
You don’t have to do sport every day for the rest of your life. After integrating a new habit in our life it is more convenient to make other changes. You can then change your sport routine to 3 times a week – full practice and not just 20 minutes. You can play with it. The beginning of this training is important to implant it in your life.
III. You know that feeling of fatigue and revulsion when you just think about sport? Yap.
I know that feeling. It takes time to find a sport that you really like and that resonate with your character. But even after I found Yoga, it was hard for me to go to classes outside my home, I always preferred to do a home practice because just the thought to leave the house to go and do sport for 90 minutes – made me tired. Just the thought.
Well, it is just a thought you know. Thoughts can have a limiting effect on us. The brain is actually convinced we are tired – it sends signals to the body to retain energy because it is so tired. But this thought is fake. What? You heard me right – it is fake. Researches on athletes* found that athlete’s brain can overcome the feeling of fatigue – and once it overcome this feeling – the brain sends different signals to the body. The research found that physical exhaustion is a trick played on the body by the mind. Read more in the comment below about this research.
We can also know it’s fake by testing on ourselves. How many times you had a feeling or a thought that told you – oh it’s going to be awful! You are too tired to do that. You will not succeed. But then you do it and you succeed. And you are not tired anymore and you actually enjoyed. So what was it? You overcame your own limiting believe- that’s what it was.
Next time this thought is crawling to your brain – overcome it like a champion.
So there you have it, I mentioned in between the lines another important fact which is that you should choose a sport that suits you otherwise you won’t persist. For me Yoga was the perfect solution – it’s a non-competitive sport, you don’t have to heavily sweat in order to feel you did something, it improves health in the internal organs as well, it fits the mind activity I yearned to, you don’t even have to leave home.
Perfect for an introvert like me ;)
* Timothy Noakes, a professor of exercise and sports science at the University of Cape Town, found that exercise fatigue might be caused not by muscle failure, but by an overprotective monitor in the brain that wanted to prevent exhaustion. The brain, sensing an increased heart rate and rapidly depleting energy supply, literally put the brakes on the body. At the same time, the brain creates an overwhelming feeling of fatigue that has little to do with the muscles capacity to keep working. This study is based on a theory put forth in 1924 by Nobel Prize-wining physiologist Archibald Hill. From the book: The willpower instinct by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D
If you want to know more about will power – watch (or listen) this interview with her. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzVoQkPswRk&list=