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Taking stock of progress….part 1 of 2

Robyn Openshaw - May 04, 2011 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

Last night I went to Zumba with Matthew, as I often do, and he talked me into staying late for yoga afterwards. I’d already worked out that morning, then played my last league tennis match of the season mid-day. We were already planning to be in another yoga class, at another gym, early the next morning. The point is—I didn’t really need or even want to do yoga!

But I stayed, and something really cool happened.

When I first started doing yoga 5 years ago, I found holding the Plank really daunting. I couldn’t do it for 60 seconds. Now Plank makes me yawn. Five minutes straight, in Plank? Eh.

I was also so intimidated by balance poses where only the hands are on the floor. I’d see people doing them and tell myself that there was NO WAY–because I was the ridiculous spaz in gymnastics when I was a kid. Couldn’t even do a cartwheel. For a while, then, I didn’t even try Crow, Side Crow, etc.

After a year or two, I found myself doing all those balance poses. And holding them for 30 seconds or more. I can almost do the splits. I can go into a full squat on the floor with my feet touching each other. I can do Plow with most of my legs over my head in complete contact with the floor behind me. I could never have done any of these things when I was 16 years old.

There’s just one thing I had never done. A headstand. Never even tried it! It looked hard and scary.

Anyway, after my long day, late last night, I was in Crow and found myself accidentally tipping forward. The top of my head was on my mat, and my whole body was in the perfect pose to lift into a headstand–knees on my elbows.

So I did. And I held it for a couple of seconds before toppling on my back—THWAT!!–right next to Matthew, startling him and making a bunch of people near me laugh out loud.

So this morning, we went to the other yoga class, and I found myself in the same position. I lifted into a headstand and just held it, perfectly. For close to a minute.

Isn’t this just the way of life?

We keep doing the right thing, keep practicing, messing up sometimes, and sometimes we don’t even notice how massive our progress has been! Because it was so gradual. This morning I had the elated thought, “OMG! I am kinda good at yoga!” (I never realized it….I was still in that beginner’s place of thinking of the things I couldn’t do, or hadn’t tried, and comparing myself to the teacher.)

What does this have to do with our whole-foods lifestyle, yours and mine? Well, you can think about that, but I’ll write about it tomorrow.

Posted in: Exercise

14 thoughts on “Taking stock of progress….part 1 of 2”

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  1. So maybe there’s hope for me!?!? I keep telling myself to be consistent and I’ll get better at yoga but oh my will I ever be able to bend in half or keep my balance? For the past 5 years about how many days a week have you done yoga?

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      4-5 years, 2-3 times a week for an hour. 🙂 Keep going! I know a woman who spent decades trying/wanting to do the splits and finally achieved it this year at the age of 70!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I discovered your blog almost two weeks ago when I was looking for green smoothie recipes. I wanted to try them but was afraid of the taste since I am not the best dark leafy green eater. Anyway, I’m on day 12 of green smoothies! I am loving them. I also gave up coffee the day I started the smoothies. I have a fairly good diet but after reading ALL of your past blog entries and getting The China Study from the library I know how much room for improvement there is. It is a little daunting but I just keep telling myself, small changes. Anyway, forward progress!

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Tracy, you’ve read 3.5 years of blogs?! WHOA! That’s what education does, huh….opens our mind to how much there is to know, and makes us aware of how little we know! But it does arm us with good information along with all that humility! Good stuff, enjoy the path!

  3. Yes, Robyn, 3.5 yrs of your blog. One would think I don’t have a life but I am a single mom of a 14 year old. So she keeps me pretty busy. I am driving my co workers crazy with my enthusiasm but one has asked me to bring a small smoothie for her to try. So that is something. I saw on your facebook page that you may be heading for NYC this summer. I am in CT and a train ride away. My brother lives there so I have a place to stay. When you head east I will be jumping on the next train!

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Tracy, cool! I am looking for a place to host my show in the city….and then I’m buying plane tickets bc matthew and I want to see some plays and hang out in the big apple.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I would like for you to host a show in the “Big Easy” New Orleans!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Would you ever consider coming to Canada? B.C.?

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Nancy…..NIIIICE! I have never had a yoga instructor who really teaches you HOW. Lucky!

      Joanne, I would love to speak in Canada and hope for the opportunity to do that in the coming year!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Way to go, yogi! I have been practicing yoga about five years but the last 1 1/2 I’ve been going to a hot yoga studio (not Bikram) and my favorite instructor there does inversions in all her classes. She is really good at technique instruction and has us start with headstands next to the wall and then wean ourselves to the middle of the room. I could do that after about a month. It’s so rewarding to be able to do something like that when I have been a klutz all my life and I’m 54 years old. It’s fun to show off. I can’t hold crow as long as you can but I can do it for a little while. I never thought I would be able to do some of the arm balances I can do now.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hi Robyn, Have learned so much from you…and have been doing the green smoothie over year and half. If you come to NYC, Fairfield.Connecticut isn’t too far away. Catch a Healthy Habit Cafe is in Fairfield and they have a lot of great speakers.Check out their web site. Would love to have you come to Connecticut. Also, in Windsor, Ct there is a place called Raw Central that has great speakers, I’m sure they would love to have you there too.

  8. Anonymous says:


    Words can not express how much I love your site and all the great research, wisdom, and just plan information, that we can all benefit from. Please tell me u are coming to Chicago sometime soon. It’s a beautiful city you would have a lot of fun!

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Casey, we are going to be doing some fun things with my traveling lecture–had a great brainstorm session coming home from my St. George class just now–and do you know I’ve never been to Chicago and it’s HUGE on my bucket list? Just need someone to do a little organizing and find the venues that seat 100 and I’m there!

  9. Anonymous says:


    Is there any difference in nutrition between taking flax oil in pills rather than using the oil in your smoothies?

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