Why I’m quitting yoga

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That’s rather a grand title for the reality of: I went to one yoga class, skipped the next one, and have now reversed my decision to go back – at least in the near future. And yet, it feels like quitting, like giving up. And I’m justifying that to myself here – while at the same time thinking it’s the best idea.

I used to do a log of yogalates-type classes, but it’s been several years. I used to like it, though, so thought it was time to use that gym membership for once (!) and give the new class a go. And I did like it. But it killed me – Sunday lunchtime, came home exhausted and did nothing useful for the rest of the day, and was very achy until Thursday. Eeep! It’ll get easier, I told myself. And probably it would have. Eventually.

So why quit? In short: I think it was too much too soon. I *know* I’m unfit, and I desperately want to do something about that – I’m not getting any younger, etc. But while there is a certain romance about throwing yourself into something difficult and slowly improving (I can’t help but remember Bill in IT, who turned from chubby to fit by running until he threw up, over and over. Urm…!) there is something more appealing for me in finding the lowest effort viable improvement – and *sticking to it* consistently.

For instance: one of the things I didn’t really consider going to that first class was how much upper body strength work might be involved. Mine sucks – I always struggled with those bits of previous classes. This one was VERY focused on ubs work – and yet, I coped. Why? Vaguely intermittently, but for months now, I’ve been doing sort-of push ups at home. 6-10 depending on how I was feeling, probably taking a minute tops. Apparently, that worked well for me – planks and downward dogs were manageable, for an *hour*. Wow. Did I struggle with those push ups? Not really!

The key there of course is consistently – but that’s another ‘reason’. I did and would put off the huge effort of a difficult class on my precious Sunday. Gretchen Rubin nailed it with the phrase “What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while” – so I need/want to find that level that I can do daily, and build.

And finally, the mental state. Yesterday evening I was mentally arranging today, all around that class. I’d have to eat early, do this, sort that, and write off anything overly productive afterwards, and… urgh. It did not make me happy. And then it dawned on me: that’s not how I want my life to be. I’m a grown up these days, not some kid who has to go to school when I don’t want, etc. Heck, I took a big pay cut to find a job I didn’t dislike going to – why on earth would I force myself to go do something on the weekend that made me feel all stressy – especially when yoga and stress are meant to have the opposite relationship!

So – not giving up on fitness, just need to take smaller, ‘turtle’ steps. Repeatedly.

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