A Slow Start is Better Than No Start

Image from xojane.com

Image from xojane.com

“Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality.”
~ Robin S. Sharma

 

It’s fair to say that, thanks to Lyme Disease, I’ve experienced chronic ill-health for a long time. Over thirty years, in fact. And certainly in the past six or seven years, as I have battled with cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, severe breathlessness, low blood pressure and fatigue that was exacerbated by any form of physical exertion, it is also fair to say that I have done little exercise apart from stretches and gentle walking or swimming.

But I’m beginning to feel better.

Better enough that I want to exercise. And finally I have my doctor’s blessing to do yoga after not being allowed to for so long.

So, I dragged out my yoga mat, and in the privacy of my own home, all eagerness and optimism, I began the routine I had done easily and every day for years before my lyme-induced heart attack. Forgetting, of course, that I’d last done this yoga regime with grace and ease seven long years and twenty kilograms ago.

Except that I couldn’t do it. I didn’t bend, I couldn’t move my poor stiff body into any of the positions, and I fell over. A lot.

Do you know what I did then?

I cried.

I cried with frustration. I cried because I’d lost so much ground. I cried because I was so much worse than I’d thought I would be.

Honestly, I should have known I had no hope of getting through that advanced routine, but it was the only one I knew off by heart, and I hadn’t stopped to think that the thing I’d always been able to do would suddenly be so hard. After years of illness I’d lost my flexibility, my balance, my confidence. What was I to do?

Be kind to myself is what.

I turned to my trusty iPad and downloaded a cheap little app called Yoga Studio. From its clean screen of images I chose a fifteen minute beginner routine for back pain. To my delight the fifteen minutes flew by, and although I was not elegant or graceful, I managed to do some semblance of each of the poses. By the week’s end I’d progressed enough that I could complete the routine with a kind of flow, and I’d also noticed an improvement in my flexibility and co-ordination.

It will be a while before I am setting the Byron Bay yoga studios on fire. That’s okay with me. I have found a beginning place, a place where I feel the joy of success rather than the sting of failure.

A slow start is better than no start at all, and slow starts often lead to deep and lasting practice.

Is there some place that you can make a slow start this week?

Commit to something simple and small. You can build on it later, when you’re ready. But do start. There is so much power in starting. And continuing. Slow starts give you room to move and improve. They build confidence and skill. They set you up for success.

And gee, it feels lovely!

If you need a little motivation, this short and inspiring video should do it…

 

 

17 thoughts on “A Slow Start is Better Than No Start

  1. I would like to add that “you” too Nicole are a great inspiration! And thank you for not giving up! You help make this world a wonderful place!

  2. For what it’s worth, I’m proud of you! Lyme disease is awful and fighting back is the way to go. I’ll keep you company if you like – after walking five K every day in January, I’ve now set out on the next phase: running them using the C25K programme. Result? The first day I felt like a sack of spuds on stilts, but I made it to the end of the podcast. I did the first run of week 2 today, and just felt elated. Hang on in there and think that with every session, you’re kicking Mr Lyme’s butt.

  3. I also started doing yoga (slowly), and found a you tube channel called ‘yoga with adriene’. She is like a ray of sunshine coming out of the screen:) Just thought I’d share if you wanted to have a look x

  4. Good on you!!! Well done for not giving up!! You will get there, just give it time. I so applaude your persistence (with everything)😘

  5. Yes I’ve been doing yoga only once a week for about 10 months, and it is slowly improving… and I lose balance doing that pose on the video too ! Thanks Nicole, keep on keeping on xxx

  6. Good on you Nicole😇😎 As a recent convert to regular yoga & its amazing benefits am so thrilled for you to be back to it . I hope yoga proves to be another piece in the puzzle to your recovery.

  7. I watched this video a couple of years ago, in fact I watched it about a dozen times. This guy is such an inspiration, I always cry when I watch him. I started yoga back then and don’t follow any practice of anyone else’s, I just stretch where I need it. Often it is on my back using the couch as a prop! One year later I am the most flexible I had been for years and now spend 10 minutes every day on my head, using the couch as a prop still 🙂 Keep on keeping on, be an “Arthur”, you won’t regret it. I hope to be the 70 year old that can still do yoga, given 5 years ago I could only crawl up our stairway I am so thankful to him xxx

  8. Go girl. I’m cheering all the way as you pace yourself back into flexibility. Your attitude rocks!!!
    Much love, Joey xo

  9. Your blogs are such an inspiration to me. So honest, such a breath of fresh air. So many people forget they and everyone else are simply human…I am so glad you are someone who brings humanity back into the picture again! Through your struggles and your victories we applaud you, O’ Beautiful Soul!!! <3

  10. a slow start is better than no start…..I have a different opinion. I disagree with the idea of life being a profitable thing that needs to be improved and polished all the time…why can’ we just live our life in the present without any projection in the future?…why starting something if we don’t feel like anything but just enjoying the life we already have?…when I make a cake, I don’t think of slowly making a cake…when I go for a walk, I don’t think of slowly going for a walk….a slow start is okay but a no-start is absolutely fine.

    • For me it’s not about being profitable, but yes, it is about mastery. To be able to work at something I enjoy – yoga, cooking, meditation, writing, psychic skills – and to feel myself improving and growing. I love that feeling.

      If I don’t feel like doing anything, or there’s no challenge in it, then sure, a no-start is fine. But sometimes I feel the energy build in me, or the desire build in me, or I have a picture in my head, and I KNOW that my current level of skill or ability is not where I want to be, so to start slowly and kindly and work towards that thing – that gives meaning to my life.

      To go for a walk? For years even that simple pleasure was beyond me. My life became about being able to walk from my bed to the door. From my bed to the bathroom. From my bed to the back yard. If I hadn’t started slowly I think perhaps I may have given up. I needed to let myself be a beginner at walking. I couldn’t just head out for a long walk. It was something I needed to build up to.

      We’re all different and I honour where you stand. I honour that your life experience is different to mine, and that where you are now, everything you want to do is easily within your reach. That’s not the case for me just yet. If I have no-starts, I’ll likely never have some of the things I truly want to regain or master in my life. So I choose slow and kind.

      Much love to you, Nicole xx

Leave a Reply