“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 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…