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Not sure I am doing yoga for the right reasons

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by [NameRedacted], Jan 9, 2019.

  1. [NameRedacted]

    [NameRedacted] New Member

    This is my first post, but a little bit about me. I have some back, shoulder and neck issues. I've had the back issues since I was 21, I am currently 31.

    I've always been an active person, and I remain active competing in OCR races, lift weights, and etc. A few months ago I decided I wanted to start really training my flexibility, making sure that I did Yoga as many days a week as I could find the time.

    Originally, I started doing this to ease the pain in my body, and to just be better at moving my body. Now that I am familiar with TMS and intellectually accept it as a real thing. I'm trying to re-evaluate my relationship to stretching and yoga. I'm not sure I was doing it for the right reasons.

    I took a week off after reading one of Sarno's books. Now I am back at it, because I find pleasure in doing it, but I fear that subconsciously I'm doing it for the wrong reasons. I'm wondering if anyone else has gone through a similar dilemma?
  2. Coffeeplease

    Coffeeplease Peer Supporter

    I understand what you're saying. I love massages. Originally I started seeing a massage therapist to help relieve intense shoulder pain, neck pain and tension. Knowing what I do now, I was suffering from TMS. However, I would love to get a massage again, because it's so relaxing and quiets my mind. It makes me feel as if I'm practicing self love and self care by gifting myself some peaceful time.

    I think if your yoga practice is something you enjoy and find pleasure doing, then I would continue. As long as you accept your TMS as a real thing, and reinforce the thought that yoga is an activity that brings you happiness I would think that is a great thing! I've always wanted to try yoga, I think the strength and stretching would be very healthy for the body. Associate your yoga practice as a pleasure activity that brings you happiness and self care :)

    Best wishes,
    Tennis Tom and cdub like this.
  3. [NameRedacted]

    [NameRedacted] New Member

    Thanks for the advice. Part of this process is figuring out what I find pleasurable about yoga. For most people I think it is probably the endorphins, and the flowing practice that can become sort of hypnotic. For me I think it is more results and goal oriented.

    I am super competitive when it comes to any sort of physical pursuit. I always want to be the strongest, or have the best endurance. So for me, as someone with crummy flexibility, the pleasure of yoga comes from the pursuit of getting better at flexibility. I do yoga at home, and part of why I don't do it in a studio is because when I eventually go to a studio I want to be able to nail all the poses and be the best.

    It sounds ridiculous, but writing this little response has made me realize that a big issue I have is that I want to be the best at stretching and flexibility. Which seems ridiculous to me as I write this out. I feel like before I was using yoga as rehabilitative tool, and deep down I still might be, but now I'm using at as a tool for competition which does gives me some pleasure, just maybe not the physical pleasure other people are getting from it.
    Free of Fear and Coffeeplease like this.
  4. Coffeeplease

    Coffeeplease Peer Supporter

    I totally understand what you mean, and it's the perfectionist mentality. You don't sound ridiculous at all. The competitiveness, wanting to doing something perfectly, be the best. It's a lot of pressure to put on yourself (I do this too). Keep up the great work and thinking about why you are doing a certain activity...yoga or otherwise, and then decide whether it's something that you really want to continue and for the right reasons!

  5. Free of Fear

    Free of Fear Well known member

    Great insight!

    The measure I use for myself with any activity is, Am I doing this to be a more balanced and happy person, or am I doing this to *take away* the pain? If it's the second, then I don't do it.
    Coffeeplease likes this.
  6. [NameRedacted]

    [NameRedacted] New Member

    Yeah, that is what I am trying to figure out right now My original intention was for rehabilitative purposes. I've been a physically minded person since I was 18. I've read all sorts of books and articles about strength training, PT, breathing, fascia, stretching, nutrition, supplementation and etc.

    It has been a primary interest of mine for so long. consciously I am telling myself I am doing this because I like it, or that I'm a competitive person who wants to see how far I can take this path and see how it will improve me athletically. Today, I found myself slipping into the mindset where I was thinking about how I could modify my flow practice to release some tension from my hips which would in turn could potentially alleviate my back pain.

    I tried to exorcise the thought from my mind, but I have 10+ years of programming I have to update, which is frustrating. Makes me feel like all those articles and books I've read may have been a waste. Even just writing about this is reminding of a different set of issues I need to probably journal about. In my mind I want to justify all the knowledge and techniques I've learned from reading, and find application for them, but if ultimately they don't fix back, shoulder, neck or [insert ailment] then all the reading and writing I've done on the topic was probably a waste of my time.
    Coffeeplease likes this.
  7. Rosebud

    Rosebud Peer Supporter

    That actually made me laugh out loud! But not in a bad way, hear me out. For starters, you can't be the best at yoga. There are no yoga championships, and there's a reason for that! Because if there were, it would be impossible to judge, since what happens inside is at least as important as what happens outside. So even if you nail all the poses, you aren't necessarily the best. Maybe that fat old lady who finally came out of her comfort zone (but not too far!) is actually nailing it. Or maybe not. Maybe you're both nailing it, in your own way.

    I personally find enjoyment in being really bad at yoga. Look at me, being all stiff and uncoordinated! But I'm here, and I'm trying. And that's what counts. And strangely enough, I am getting more flexible, almost despite myself. At my own pace. And I find enjoyment in that too. It's OK. It's all good.

    I wonder if it would be useful to take a class anyway, preferably one of the slower ones (but not restorative yoga, that's really going to be too slow), and really concentrate on what happens inside of you. Just one class. A yin yoga class, or a yin flow class. It might surprise you.
    rain likes this.
  8. EileenS

    EileenS Well known member

    At this time you are approaching yoga with the wrong attitude, but you say you enjoy it, so focus on the enjoyment and as we say in the yoga world, 'go within'. Always focus on the breath. Yoga is the opposite of competition. You sound a lot like me when I was 31. (I'm twice that age now.) As you can see from my avatar, I do yoga and really enjoy it. I've been doing it since I was 18. Before finding out about tms 4 years ago I was competitive about exercise like you. I would go to a yoga class and try to do the perfect pose for competitive reasons because I am a flexible person. Now I focus on 'going within'. I try to do yoga poses properly because that way is the most enjoyable way, but I do a pose to my ability that day and I don't overstretch it.

    I strongly advise you to go to yoga classes and work on not competing. You have an issue with competition (which is a tms issue, always comparing ourselves to others), and a yoga class is a good place to work on that.

    Regarding your past reading, it was not a waste. Do you consider reading fiction books a waste? (I hope your answer isn't yes.) Like when you read a fiction book, you enjoyed reading them. That in itself is enough. Beyond that, since they weren't fiction, there will be things from them that you learned and will continue to hold as value.
  9. [NameRedacted]

    [NameRedacted] New Member

    [QUOTE=" You have an issue with competition (which is a tms issue, always comparing ourselves to others), and a yoga class is a good place to work on that.[/QUOTE]

    Yeah I would probably agree with that. I feel like I compare myself to others all the time, and I'm constantly trying to find ways I could beat them at something. Not exactly proud of it.
    EileenS likes this.
  10. [NameRedacted]

    [NameRedacted] New Member

    So I have actively avoiding yoga lately, because I believe that in my head I see it as a form of rehabilitation. But I am finding that mind is continuing to stray towards the thought of doing it. Which makes me wonder if I'm ready to resume it, and if I can do it for the right reasons. When I was doing yoga daily at home I felt pretty good, and found it to be much more tiring than any sort of weight lifting or running workout I was doing.

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