Small beginnings

Out of grad school, with a lot of good times behind me, I moved to Northern California in 2007 with two of my friends. We'll call them Steve and Ryan. Coz that's their names.

Photo by Tom Rumble on Unsplash. We lived in the boring suburbs of Cupertino. Which is not this but first decent picture of suburbs I found. Read the story.

I was grossly unfit. Clueless about what to do about "being fit". Clueless about what to do for a job as I didn't really have one after grad school. The three of us were working on an idea, in the boring city that is Cupertino. That was 3 months of post-grad school naivety - brainstorming and working on a reasonably smart idea and not actually knowing how to write code for it. With no car (I had nowhere to go) and no income and no code magically spouting from my fingers, I chanced upon a 28-day yoga book. Simple, old-school yoga - the best kind. And most importantly, it had a "Do This!" plan for 28 days.

It started with a 28-day yoga book

I decided to do it every evening, after my nap. Coz I needed to nap from all the not doing anything. It was alright for the first week or so. Excitement, and/or dreaming of how in just 3 months you will be amazingly fit feelings exist nice and strong. And then slowly it starts to be something you want to avoid.

It is so easy to not do. I can just skip one day right.

In the seated toe-touch, I could comfortably place my hands on my knees (yes, my knees) for 30 seconds, and uncomfortably for about 30 seconds. And I dreaded doing it. My back did not know spinal extension - it was always permanently rounded. Obviously, slouched all the time.

Somehow, I plodded on. It was the easiest thing to get right in my day. Just shut up and spend 30-odd minutes reminding myself how unfit I was. One terrible asana at a time.

And then, occasionally it would feel great after. Not just physically, but mentally. Felt sharper, smarter. Brain started working. And it got just a bit easier to do it. This did not happen every time but it was enough to keep me going. Most days were a slog and I disliked it.

And then my hands went halfway down my shin in the toe-touch.

A minor miracle because in the first benchmark I took on the toe-touch, cheating and grunting and pulling myself quickly got me nowhere past my knees. That finally showed that something tangible was already happening. I was a bit naive about a lot of other good things happening but hey, I did not know to listen/feel/understand those yet - like confidence and mental clarity and small habits and all that.

I did complete the 28 days though, and continued doing it 3 days for a couple of months after as well. While I certainly felt better, I was already bored of it. I wanted to do something else.

I wish I could say I wrote all the code in 3 days. That didn't happen. I wised up and eventually got a fun job at a real startup.

It would have been great if I could've stuck to yoga throughout and made it a habit. For most of us, it is a great addition to our training. We spend most day sitting and doing some form of yoga that works.

I didn't end my umpteenth effort at getting fit there. Yoga stopped checking the box for whatever reason. And I found running, and fell in love with it. And it eventually led me here, to The Quad.

Photo by kike vega on Unsplash (My asanas would look like this on Opposite Day)

The point, if there's one at all

It really started with a 28-day yoga book. The key, and I want you to listen carefully because if there's a point, this is the one.

You need to actually do it!

My Resistance was I would day dream. I will start with this and then in 1 month I will start running in the trail nearby and in 3 months run 10k. And not actually do anything about it because it was so slow and nothing happened at all even after a week or so and it would descend into a whining session in the head.

I would have the opportunity to test my 10k story 3 months later when I ran exactly 500 metres before the ref called it. That's another story.

I needed to shut up. And do. While a little bit of decision making is required (yoga or pilates, running or cycling or whatever), most of us just need to get on with it for a bit before thinking again. Don't get hurt. Don't do stupid things. Just follow a plan. And keep doing.

At least, that's what it was for me. It still is. When am smart.

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