But change must always be balanced with some degree of consistency. Ron D. Burton.
This morning I popped up into crow pose and hung out there for almost a minute and realized all over again that progress requires consistency. I started learning crow pose a couple of months ago and, at that time, I could barely raise one foot off the ground without falling flat on my face. Two feet off the ground, for multiple seconds seemed a life time away. But, every single day, with the exception of a couple of days when I was sick from eating raw Candlenuts (note to my readers, read the fine print, if it says "cook before eating" then cook before eating) I practiced crow pose. And, one day, I was up, both feet off the ground, in a fleeting moment of balance. Gradually, those moments stretched out, and now I feel like I can actually "do" crow pose.
Top of Steinfells Dome, City of Rocks, ID
It's a small achievement, but, in some ways, it feels quite landmark, because, I can remember starting out so clearly and thinking "I'll never get this. What's the point?" Practicing, while not physically painful, was mentally painful as each session seemed only to reinforce a feeling of failure, and failure, even in a matter so small and insignificant as a random yoga pose, is so hard on the psyche.
Rain Dance, City of Rocks, ID
So I've been trying to take the lesson of consistency on to other things. Like my increasingly tight hamstrings which mean I can't squat "arse to grass" without a butt wink. In addition to all the usual stretching and strengthening exercises that should be part of everyone's life, I've done away with sitting on anything other than the floor (except for meals). I sit with my legs straight out front and it is frighteningly hard. In addition to the fearsome stretch I get along my lower trunk and back of my legs, quite a degree of core strength is required to keep a neutral spine. Progress is slow, but, I'm pretty sure my hamstrings have started to loosen up - at least they aren't getting any tighter.
Cruel Shoes, City of Rocks, ID
There are any number of other things I am doing consistently - weight training every second day (did you reseal that deadlifts are great for improving body tension for climbing?), and bouldering every other day. Lots of low level activity every day - walking, gardening, paddling, climbing. Avoiding crappy food like substances and eating real nutrient dense food. Foam rolling and mobilizing. Somewhat tedious, repetitious, life maintaining stuff, but, if pursued consistently change - good change - does result.
Hesitation Blues, City of Rocks, ID
The final arbiter, of course, is: am I better at life and my chosen sport? If not, something needs to change. Which brings me round circle to something I stopped doing as it was having no real effect, and that is standing at my computer instead of sitting. I tried this for a long time as an antidote to poor squat mobility and it made not one whit of difference. Within a week of sitting on the floor instead of standing, I saw a big improvement in my flexibility, climbing, and general not sucking at life. Consistency is good, but, change might even be better.