Wednesday, March 9, 2022

It Doesn't Matter What it LOOKS Like.....


Oh my gosh you guys, one of my FAVORITE reminders.

“It doesn’t matter what it LOOKS like, it matters what it FEELS like.”

I usually say this in yoga.  It is so true and we all need to hear it.  (You all know I cue things sometimes during classes because it is a reminder I NEED, so I share it because that means there are probably at least half the people in class can use it also, right!!)  In yoga practice, for example, how often have you thought that you aren’t flexible “enough”, or that your position should LOOK like something you have seen or something in your mind that you wish you could make it look like?  Or maybe you even think that before you began yoga- that you needed to look a certain way as a human body to even do yoga!  This is too much thinking, and we need to take ourselves, over and over, out of this way of thinking.

In a stretch, let’s say downdog:  maybe you see someone else can get their heels to touch the floor and maybe yours are so high that you just cannot get them close to the floor.  THAT IS OK!  It is maybe NEVER GONNA HAPPEN!  Our BONE SHAPES are different!  My downdog should never look like your down dog because we don’t even know the shapes of the bones in our body.  Are you doing the position, and you FEEL the stretch?  Then it is right for you!  It does not need to LOOK a certain way! Look at how different people’s backs bend differently.  It is not as if most of us could work on back flexibility and be hired for Cirque de Soleil.  These artists have genetics that allow them to bend this way (as well as do loads of work and training as well- I don’t intend to diminish that).  My point is:  it doesn’t matter what your stretch LOOKS LIKE, it matters if you feel the purpose of the position.

And so it begins- yoga being this script for so many things in life.  It rarely matters what things LOOK LIKE, right?  What does it FEEL like- is it your current place, your truth, are you in your effort now?     Then it is as it should be.

I was reminded of this last weekend on a long run.  I passed by someone I knew who was doing their long run and they said it FELT HORRIBLE.  I knew she was supposed to be holding a pace or intensity for a number of miles.  I didn’t have time within the passing, but I kept thinking, shoot, I hope she knows, “it doesn’t matter what it looks like, it matters what it feels like.”  In running- if as an example she was supposed to be holding 8:30 pace, but the headwinds were over the top for some of those miles- it is not what the garmin split or your watch says you held number wise (what it “looks like”), but were you working at the intensity that was the purpose, and was it the effort of how it should have FELT!  Are we IN THE WORK?!  Are we awake in our bodies, at the right place!  Are we feeling what is right for us to feel.

This could be in so many things:  it could be doing a crunch on the floor.  Maybe you don’t lift up as high as someone else.  WHO CARES!  It doesn’t matter what it LOOKS LIKE!  Once again- our spines are different, our body lengths are different, our flexibility and strengths are all different!  The question is always, DO YOU FEEL what you are supposed to be feeling?  Do you feel your muscle shortening and working?!  Are you exhaling with the work and aware of the sensations as deeply as possible for YOU? That is all!  Nothing needs to LOOK a certain way!

Body shapes:  we are all different. (Ok, you all know this is a lifetime learning process for me.  I’m still at it, so many of us are).  But: I could starve myself silly and I would just not look like some body that is wispy, long bone, and slight. (I mean, have you seen my freaking rib cage.  I have some big bones, people).  I used to show up at races thinking, “I don’t look like a runner” and doubted myself.  Then one year I saw  a girl who was short like me, compact with muscles, who WON!  I am reminded over and over again, it isn’t what you LOOK LIKE- it is what you have energy to train for, what does your body feel like- do you have energy, do you have motivation, drive and are you fueled up and fired up?!!!  It doesn’t matter what it looks like, it matters what it feels like.

It's one of my favorite things about anything in “group” settings- group workouts, races, etc.  We can all be at so many levels- different paces, losing our balance, trying again.  Things look different from one person to the next.  But, it doesn’t even matter- oftentimes, we are ALL WORKING THE SAME!  We are all in our places of effort, it just LOOKS different on different people!  It’s kinda beautiful. 

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