It took a while for me to see the tremendous value in the practice of yoga. A lack of understanding led to a complete dismissal without even trying a class. Truthfully, the lack of understanding translated into a bit of fear and, therefore, a decision yoga would not be beneficial. Once I finally did agree to try a yoga class with my wife, the first encounter further tainted my opinion. The best way I can describe the experience is that the class was led by a spiritual whack-a-doodle. I just didn’t get it, or maybe that particular moment was not the time for me to start a yoga practice.
Then came a point in my workout routine where a change was needed. Something new was necessary to remain active but not be so demanding of my body. I decided to give yoga another try, and the second experience was very different. Yoga has since become a regular part of my workout routine. The physical, mental and spiritual benefits are far too many to list here.
After reading the remainder of this introduction and the poem, there will likely be those who think I have become the spiritual whack-a-doodle. Regardless, here we go.
There were only two of us who came to my favorite class one evening. The other person was far across the room and it felt nice to have a lot of open space around me. At the beginning of the session we were in a simple standing pose with the purpose of just “arriving on the mat”. We held a tall posture with shoulders back, palms facing forward and eyes closed. It was a moment of calm as we concentrated on long, deep, controlled breathing in an effort to shut out everything and just be present. As tension trickled out of my body, senses heightened and a recognition came that someone was standing very close by to my right. My eyes fluttered open slightly but remained gazing straight ahead. In my peripheral vision I could see the other person in class had not moved closer, so I turned my gaze to the right. Indeed someone was standing there, but he was somewhat out of focus.
It took a few days, but I did eventually recognize the guy standing to my right. Did anyone else in the class see him? Probably not. But there is no doubt I saw him.
Exercise and fitness are a huge part of my life. The health benefits are great, but the resulting quality time with my wife and friends is even more valuable.
I became serious about improving my physical health in 2014 and am now in the best shape of my life. Working with a personal trainer has been a key to my success. It was an incredible stroke of luck to find someone who has helped me grow in strength and ability beyond anything ever imagined possible. Also, much more than strength and ability grew. The guy who started off as my trainer has become one of my best friends. Nothing could have been better – health and muscle gains all while hanging out with my buddy.
My workout routine became an obsession. Just working out with a trainer was not enough. At one point I was in the gym seven days a week, and if a workout was missed, it made me cranky. Continuing at that level of demand on my body was not sustainable. Still, I pushed forward until the inevitable happened. A few minor injuries and setbacks occurred, and my body needed rest.
I began to fear all of my gains would be lost. Backing off on the intensity of the routine would certainly mean a loss of what I had worked so hard to achieve. Those feelings were channeled into this poem, and that seemed to be the end of the story. But something deeper existed in the meaning. It was not just the loss of muscle and physical strength I feared.
A priceless friendship had grown from what started as a trainer-client relationship, and although it sounds ridiculous to state it now, a threat to sustaining the insane gym routine translated into a threat to the friendship. My narrow mind was equating one with the other. I was selling my friend and the friendship short.
In no way was this conclusion reached on my own. That was achieved by talking about what was in my head with my
trainer friend – a continuing key to my personal success both in and out of the gym.
I have changed my workout routine, finding new ways to stay active, being smarter about time in the gym and resting. Nothing has been lost and the truly important thing has continued to grow – the prized friendship is worth more than ever before.