Hold Om

Those who do not move, do not notice their chains-

Can someone please answer this seemingly “simple” question: What the heck is progress?

Let’s narrow our focus on yoga for our conversation this morning … Progress on your trusty yoga mat looks and feels rather different from a straight gravel road shooting up over the horizon. After a few sips of juniper berry infused mead, I like to think of progress on the mat as more of a dance, the rumba to be more specific. Two steps forward, one step back, a smile, loosening up a bit, three steps forward, two confident steps back. We seem to find our own pace, our own rhythm even if it takes a few drinks.

Progress with yoga often gets worse, much worse before it gets better. Being a dude I didn’t know this initially and I thought I was losing control of both my mind and body. I was confused (this is very easy for me) because I thought that yoga was supposed to strengthen me both spiritually and physically – Instantly.

What I didn’t know at the time was that this dance backwards was the very beginning of taking a few gentle, confident steps forward.  I had to regress before I could start once again to creep ahead. Just like an infant crawling on their little hands and knees, I needed to learn how to roll over, sit up, fall down and crawl before I could walk (literally).

Sometimes I didn’t want to get up after falling down. Looking back, I don’t know how I got up on my feet again after the trying times, life. Eventually I did. Then I stumbled and fell again back onto my mat. Clumsily I rose to my knees, then to my shaky feet once again. This morning I stood straight after riding my bike to work. This is my dance in life.


Learning to love yourself, to take care of your emotional and physical self. This is how I define progress.

CultFit One

26 Comments on “Hold Om”

  1. mariavlong says:

    ooooo, reblogging!

  2. mariavlong says:

    Reblogged this on Serene Flavorful and commented:
    This little tidbit held me together today when They are paving my street and installing my floors and I cannot leave the yard.

  3. gamanrad says:

    Brilliant. Writing about ‘progress’ in my thesis: Dawkins has a nice differentiation in his ‘Ancestor’s Tale’. On the one hand, there’s progress as in moving on through time – we go along, we progress. Nothing evaluative about it. On the other hand, we have ‘progress’ as in, to achieve something, to get better at, to evolve, one might even say. I think there’s some question around whether or not ‘progress’ in the evolutionary sense belongs to the first or the second category – I think the second category might even be an illusion, in a sense: we tell ourselves we’ve got better but we actually don’t know what we’re measuring. If we could accept that our ‘progress’ is much more of the first kind, only we are becoming more and more aware of it (which, in itself, is perhaps another kind of ‘progress’) then we might be much more accepting of the so-called ‘set backs’. Now I must write up a yoga class – thanks for provoking these thoughts!

    • CultFit says:

      Thank you so much for stopping over and sharing your thoughts and kindness this morning! You touched on one key thought that I would like to pull aside and isolate for a moment. “… we are becoming more and more aware…” Awareness to me, is critical. Without it I am completely lost and struggle nightly during the day to bring back some semblance of balance. Now I have some provoking thoughts of my own to contemplate on the ride home. i always enjoy engaging in lively conversation, thank you so much for taking your time to get me thinking today. 🙂
      Be inspired this afternoon and please take care!

  4. That’s how I define progress too! Love this.

  5. Maia says:

    The title spoke to me. Your words made me think you’re talking to me!!

    I have something to write similar to what you’re saying. Maybe tonight. I feel my om, my meditation is slipping, and like you’ve said, two steps back… but the fear that it’ll deteriorate in me is scaring the bejezus out of me! Yes, I’ve been having panic attacks because of it. =/

    But your words hold wisdom. The setbacks… It’s all part of progress. My progress. To what and where, I don’t know. But I’ll keep holding my om.

    Thank you, Cult!!! Namaste, wise one. =)

    • CultFit says:

      I’m speechless, (which is really rare) after reading your comment. 🙂
      I try to write in a way which digs into those dark spots we all have deep inside us, for it is in these dark spots that I feel we grow and discover ourselves. As much as I like cheery and perky blog posts, because I do. Being completely open and honest, good and bad … is pretty cool in my book. Take care tonight and I look forward to reading your take on this important topic of discussion. 🙂

  6. yogagirlsherri says:

    Great Blog! I like your definition of progress, it seems that when we think we’ve lost hold of life or won’t ever get “it” (the pose) something changes inside of us…that letting go (Two steps forward, one step back, a smile, loosening up a bit, three steps forward, two confident steps back.) makes something click! We magically get “it” and then ….we progress.

    • CultFit says:

      Letting go and being is so, so important to how we “progress”. I struggle daily with it as you can imagine. 🙂
      Be inspired today and please take care!

  7. […] came across a blog today, Hold Om by Cultfit  and there I was, sitting and I simply stared reading, my mouth hanging open. I was […]

  8. urbanbeings says:

    Ah, the dance in life! I feel it and live it everyday 🙂 Good definition of progress, I would second that!

  9. yogawithmaheshwari says:

    For me learning to accept how our body responds each day (which can be very different one day to the next) and challenging ourselves not because we want to keep up with everyone else but because it feels right for us is progress. Once we can truly have a personal practice we’ve made real progress!

    • CultFit says:

      Excellent point! Listening and accepting our body, each day is vitally important. I know personally that I rarely have two days in a row where I feel the same physically. The old knee may be aching one morning and the very next I’m ready to bike to the studio then a little yoga later in the evening before bed.
      I hope you are having a great day, take care!

  10. Sandra says:

    Oh my goodness.

    “Learning to love yourself, to take care of your emotional and physical self. This is how I define progress.”

    Hmmm. Twenty-five steps backwards here. I’ll put this on my list. . . at the top.

    • CultFit says:

      I have struggled immensely trying to put these thoughts of mine into pithy blog posts that would both resonate with our passionate friends here and not bore you to death in the process. I’m so glad that you find my humble words so meaningful to you, I sincerely mean this. 🙂 Writing is difficult for me, chatting and yucking it up during a bike ride is another thing altogether. 😉 Take care today.

  11. i'm hot but i'm human says:

    Love it. Great messaging and the best lesson. I say on the other side of that d**n mountain is a margarita!

  12. […] I should know better – in fact, I do. I just seem to manage to forget. I’ve experienced the often-frustrating but secretly-beautiful non-linearity of ‘progress’ very clearly: physically (and mentally), on my yoga mat. It is a constant work to remind myself that sometimes progressing means scaling it back. Deepening a strong backbend means making the explicit comittment not to go into it deeply at all, but to focus on on the core muscles and they way they support the spine, especially the lower spine, instead of going into a deep bend. It means squashing lovingly putting aside my ego, and ‘regressing’ to the basics in each posture. This winding, twisting dance of a path is by no means linear, or even headed in a single direction. And that’s good. That is progress. And it’s not messy, it’s a dance. […]

  13. Wonderful post! Settling into the “two steps back” with confidence – it’s critical. It seems I find myself in just as much backward stepping as forward stepping these days. It used to bother me, but I’ve started feeling it is the sweet opportunity for freshness every time. The fundamental basics are always the best and they never run out. Thanks for your post.

  14. yogini27 says:

    lots of great conversation thanks for starting it. I suddenly can’t do crow pose anymore. Just wanted to add that progress is also realising that nothing is permanent…. And then to deepen that progress being ok with the fact nothing is permanent. ( I’ll still keep trying though hehehehe)

    • CultFit says:

      Its kind readers like yourself that make all of this happen! Thank you for your continued support. 🙂 Perseverance is a topic I have not written much about in the past, there is a fine line between doing too much while still making progress spiritually and physically. You have inspired me to give it a go after your comment about not being able to get into a crow pose anymore. For the longest time I have lamented about finding Stillness, Awareness and Comfort in a yoga pose … I believe this will open so many new “doors” for you. Be well today and please take care!

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