I just took 3 yoga classes back-to-back.
So today I took 3 yoga classes in. a. row. First I took a power class from 4:30-5:30, then yin 5:45-7, then my usual Breathwork meditation class from 7:15-8:30. I was at the Hot 8 studio in Koreatown for over 4 hours today and it felt FABULOUS. After a not so hot week of missing classes; 6:15am ones I was suppose to wake up for and turned the alarm on snooze so many times until I “accidentally” missed it, this was just the kind of intense recharging I needed. Sometimes when I need a reset I like to do something that I have NEVER done before!!
While I have taken 2 yoga classes back to back many times, I have never to my recollection taken 3 in a row and been at the studio doing yoga for 4 hours straight. Something like this came into my mind after a week of missing some of my goals, feeling off at work, backtracking in some of my relationships, and generally beating myself up for not finishing a 30-day challenge I had started with myself. It is easy to get down on ourselves when life gets in the way of our goals (seemingly) and we can start to question our moral character and associate our failed expectations to a lack of zest. When this happens I like to do a little something I call imprinting your brain.
Every time we do something different, unique, or for the first time we create new neural pathways in the brain that then open up and connect even more pathways behind the scenes. By making new choices and going outside your comfort zone we actually rewire the brain, telling it, this is okay look we made it through!! Our brain has developed over time to react in fight or flight mode when we are faced with uncertainty or difficulty. Often this makes us retreat into the safety of our shell never knowing what would have been the outcome had we taken the leap. While our body does this to protect us this can also inhibit our growth and progress.
So on a week like this when it felt as if I was sliding backwards instead of forwards I like to make a big step forward in a big way. This time it was by taking 3 yoga classes in a row. By showing myself that I am capable of doing it and conquering this new territory I am reprograming my brain and the part that says I am not good enough and will never step up to the plate. I literally open myself up to new levels of uncertainty and become a new person capable of new things. The type of person who does yoga for 3 hours straight. By definition, that person would be a badass right?
By doing these badass things and taking these huge leaps of faith we can prove to ourselves and show our subconscious that we can conquer not only these big battles but any small unexpected qualms that are thrown our way as well. By triggering the fight or flight pathways in the body through strenuous exercise, falling into sticky situations, and then braving beyond – we reprogram these parts of our brain that were once switched off as “no’s”, and turn them into “yes’s”. Once our body sees that not only did we survive, but that taking this leap has led to new ideas, new endorphin highs, and led to breakthroughs the previous pathways are shattered healing back stronger, more flexible and ready for the future.
Whenever I am in a pose in yoga, especially stretching poses I try my best to go a little bit further than I have EVER gone before! I know this sounds a little crazy but bear with me. If you are practicing often, whatever that means for you, you are probably moving forward and progressing in your practice no matter how slow or fast. Each time you enter into a pose weather it be paschimotonasana (forward fold) or camels pose (on your knees bending back) you can usually attempt by the end of the pose to reach even a slightly deeper version than ever before! As I am in a pose, with each inhale I focus on realignment and lifting up slightly with the breath, and with each exhale I focus on melting a little deeper and letting go more. Even if you do not reach the “furthest” you have ever been you can still go a loooong way in this 30 seconds or however long the pose is. By creating a dynamic posture we constantly move deeper with each exhale.
How does this relate to re-imprinting your brain? Well, have you ever done an activity or tried to learn a new skill but felt like you were in one place and couldn’t get past the learning curve? Well perhaps this was because you were focused on the idea that progression was hard and you would never be proficient. If we can take this thought, and break it wide open by pushing our limits past our expectations to feel and receive something “new” then we reprogram this part of the brain that previously was not accessible to us. There is a certain feeling when you push yourself past your limits and these are the moments where limitless possibilities open up and transcend our previous thinking.
Even though these changes take time and habits need to form around these newly found super human powers, we can all do little things each day to go out of our comfort zone, push ourselves a little further, and show ourselves what we are truly made of past the breaking point.
Flexibility in the body leads to flexibility of the mind!
Xoxo, Marisa N. Moonbeamz ♥