Having done YWA’s 30 Days of Yoga and Yoga Camp at the end of last year, I know what day six means… ABS. I somehow manage to both enjoy and kind of hate anything ab-focused. It’s noticeable just how much of an impact having a strong core has on every day life (and I don’t mean in terms of “ooh look at that six-pack!), but at the same time ab exercises and poses that work the abs can be tough (yes I’m looking at you, plank).
The thing I love about YWA’s ab-focused practices, however, is that they’re aimed at so much more than getting ripped (although if I get a bit more ab definition along the way, I’m sure as hell not going to complain about that). The email that accompanied today’s practice really struck a chord with me: “[o]ur modern cultures have trained our minds to think of the body in a very distorted way. The language we use to shape the way we think about the body needs to be tended to. … Create your outer environment by tending to the inner works. This involves being present, kind and noticing where your attention tends to go.” This is so damn true. That distorted way of thinking of the body is something that I find myself fighting, to a greater or lesser extent, each day.
Although today’s practice was tough in places, it wasn’t as tough as it might once have been. I gave myself a little mental high five for being able to hold the long plank in the middle, even if I did need a bit of extra time in child’s pose afterwards! I’m even starting to sort of enjoy progressing in side plank, which is something I never thought I’d say. Going beyond the physical, where it really got me was in paying attention to the body as one whole piece, rather than individual parts. With BDD, it’s so easy to focus on very specific bits of the body (a particular point on the jawline, that bit at the top of the spine and the base of the neck, etc) that sight of the body as a whole can be lost. This holistic focus is a very different way of thinking to the one I’m used to, and I personally find it’s much more difficult to be so critical when taking that approach. It would be great if changing thought patterns were as easy as flicking a switch, but persistence is the key.
I’m fully expecting a bit of a hangover tomorrow (well, it is Friday!), so whether I’m back for day 3/300 will depend on whether I’m able to banish the headache in sufficient time to practise before I go out in the afternoon. I hope so, because this weekend is a busy one and it’s in the midst of busyness that I particularly love and appreciate yoga!