I’ve found it’s pretty easy to find correlations between fitness or active efforts and the rest of your life. In the last couple of years as I’ve rediscovered my love of being active, this has been more true than ever. When I get out cycling, practice yoga, or even walk the dog I find ideas and personal discoveries within that activity that offer some insight into other areas I’m dealing with in life. It’s during these periods of activity and especially when I get outside to enjoy them that I have some of my most personally motivating ideas.
When I took on the X Challenge using the FENIX shakes to help me lose weight and get back into a better shape, one of my personal challenges was to try new things. One of those new things for me was yoga. While I knew it could be beneficial, I’d avoided it for all the typical reasons. It was unfamiliar, I probably wouldn’t be very good at it, and quite frankly it seemed a little odd to me. But the new me decided I’d heed my wife’s suggestion to give it a try. I quickly found, not only did I find it helpful, I really enjoyed the challenge and process of it.
I wasn’t very good at first. My natural inclination is to muscle my way through things and yoga requires a good mix of focus, balance, flexibility, and strength. The beauty of it is the concept of “practice.” You’ll hear people talk about having done their yoga practice for the day. The class I found was accepting of all skill levels and instructional throughout all the various movements. Even now more than two years later while I have improved and benefited greatly, I still feel like I am new in the practice and learning as I go.
One of my favorite principles (among many) in the practice of yoga is alignment. To properly execute a pose and reap the benefits you need to be aligned in every respect. From the position of your feet all the way to the direction you point your hands and face and everything in-between, if you are not properly aligned you will not only get less out of the effort but also struggle to even maintain the pose. No matter how hard you try to compensate with strength and determination, without first aligning yourself to the proper pose both physically and mentally you are fighting a losing battle. If you first get properly set up and aligned you’ll quickly find the effort easier and the pose much more elegantly correct and beneficial.
While knowing this to be true, it’s still a constant effort to be present in the practice and make corrections to improve and reap the most reward. Even where I might have succeeded just the time before, it’s a continual effort. Again why we call it a practice.
Looking at that same principle as it applies to the rest of our life and the efforts we all make, aligning ourselves first and continually making adjustments to realign is where we are going to find our most success from our efforts. Think of aligning your fitness efforts, healthy eating, growing our business or everyday work, mental and spiritual thoughts and goals, and so on. How often do we first take a moment to see if what we are doing is in alignment with our larger goals of where we want to be weeks, months and years from now? Are we working against ourselves in one area causing our diligent efforts in another to fail or fall well short of our expectations? If we take the time regularly to align ourselves in all aspects of our lives to all point and work in the same direction, how much better might we see results from the work we do?
I think this is pretty obvious when we think about it with an honest assessment of what we think, say, and do. Is the end goal of what we want to do motivating enough that we are willing to not only do the work but also make the changes in every aspect of our lives to get there? If it is, and we can completely embrace the WHY of what we are trying to achieve, then aligning to that why and the goals we set as a result becomes our complete focus. And again, it’s not a one time thing. We should regularly assess and adjust to get realigned whenever needed.
So pick a schedule that works for you and make the effort to get aligned. Once aligned, work within that alignment to achieve whatever it is you are seeking. Frequently reassess and realign again and again. In that practice you will get better along the way and avoid wasted energy that doesn’t contribute to your best.
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