Are we really limited by our own minds?
When Roger Bannister broke the four minute mile, he opened up the mindset that it was indeed possible. John Walker then became the first New Zealander to do so, and many have followed since.
I’ve always enjoyed watching the Olympics. Athletes that have gained mastery through discipline, passion and self-belief. How much quicker can a human being run? How much faster can a human being propel themselves through the water? How much higher can we jump?
Well, if the new world records that get set at each new Olympics is anything to go by, we haven’t hit our limits yet.
I often wonder when I’m weight training whether it’s my mind that is deciding that the weights are heavy or it is actually my muscles that can’t lift any more. The science of building muscle is to lift a weight until the muscle cannot lift anymore, then in recovery mode, the muscle grows a little bit stronger just in case it is put under the same strain in the near future. Using this science I built a huge physique over twenty years that won a lot of trophies, but could I have gotten bigger?
Even though I have achieved a lot, sport, body building, business, three beautiful kids, now grown men with their own gorgeous kids (yes, believe it or not people, I am the grandfather of six, yep you heard me, six lil nippers). (Update, now 7). I still had many many limitations, physically, mentally and spiritually.
Yoga changed all of that for me, it has opened my mind, heart and self, and has opened up life to me in so many ways I never thought possible.
First was getting back in touch with my feet, not just by being able to see them again, being able to bend over and touch them. Trust me, once those competitions are over, you eat and eat and eat, and we know where that leads; from 86kgs in the photo above, to 120kgs at my heaviest, I never thought that would happen, have you seen my uttanasana? People, can I get a witness.
Did I ever think I would go a month free from having a herniated disc, not after chronic lower back pain for twenty years. Well, it took a year of Yoga, salad, and more salad and now herniation free for nearly five years, and I can see my toes again.
Was my lower back issue more to do with my state of mind? Looking back I think it reflected where I was in my life, and how I saw it.
I always felt the presence of pain, felt crushed under a heavy weight, there was no freedom or flexibility in my body. I had a lot of mental limitations, holding back, fear of being vulnerable, keeping things reined in, never venturing far, never taking a risk. My herniated disc was me, and it constantly served as a reminder to stay very internal, very closed off. My weight was something to hide behind too, Big Guy they used to call me, I had the bouncers stare down pat – how limiting is that? I can tell you its really limiting.
The more I learn about Yoga, the science that it is, and how that science then applies to my life, the more ease I have in both body and mind.
When my mind started to free up, so did my back, as the weight lifted, so did my movement. Moving deeper and deeper in to each asana matched the risks I was taking to be out there, to feel safe, and to become engaged with the world outside.
I now sing with joy publicly, that was huge for me, I am pursuing my love of writing, and have engaged on a course of study that I am passionate about. I have opened my heart to all that life has to offer.
The future looks promising and actually always was. It was just a matter of when, and that time is now, it’s always now, not when and not if.
The possibilities are endless, the only thing that will limit me now is my mind, and with Yoga there’s no chance of that.
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Copyright © 2015 John Falepau