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Infamous Yoga “Plank”, How it has transformed my body and mind!!

Blue Bay Sunrise at Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Unity…Blue Bay Sunrise at Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

“I need a Holiday!”.…After 4 years, 2009-2012, of 4 extensive hip surgeries I found myself in tears.  Exhausted.  I finally, in deep honesty, admitted to myself my hearts desire... “a vacation”. The commitment I cultivated of intense discipline and hard work for successful recoveries had a price.  I was enduring the pressure of being a single mother needing to return to self employed work.  In addition, my daughter was in her late teens, and as you know….can be expensive. I shared this confidence with my mother who was fading from Parkinson’s and would pass Dec. 30, 2012.

Within days… her sister financially came to my support once again.  Upon receiving this generous gift, I wept.  Yes, tears were everywhere…..I was exhausted……An all inclusive in Los Cabos, Mexico awaited me with a guest of my choice.  A dear friend, who unconditionally was present during my challenging times, said “yes”. I was honored that I could offer her a gift in gratitude for all her help.

Los Cabos, Mexico, September 2012, a caught a sideways glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror.  I saw a hunched over, flabby tired old woman. I decided in that moment, I didn’t want to live out the rest of my life like that.  I promised myself I was going to do all I could to transform what I saw and how I felt.  I wanted to reclaim my youth and the joy that had fuelled my daily life.

It was in returning home, with that intention, at Life Works Gym, that I discovered the PLANK.  A steady daily attempt at 15 seconds, 20 seconds…as months went by… 45 seconds…1 1/2 minutes…2013, the year went by….2 minutes… then within the next year 2014 , a 3 minute plank.  Woohoo!  Colleagues and clients would ask me what I was doing, that I glowed and looked good.  I would mention various practices regarding nutrition, meditation and the 3 minute Plank.  Their reaction was jaw dropping. “You can do that!  Wow”…..

I have found a regime that works for me.  It is personal….we all have our unique life story which continues to unfold. …..Patience, daily commitment, and now… a 4 minute Plank, can grace me on a good day!

Addressing the component of the mind…. In all honesty….I could do the 3 minute Plank but with a busy Monkey brain.…my term for a mind that doesn’t stop…a loop of continually dialogue….On my self directed spiritual retreat in Kauai, Christmas of 2014, I reflected, “What do I need to do to calm my mind?”  At 2:10 mins, I would start to shake, run through the grocery list and struggle to make it to the 3 minute mark.  Yes, darn “Ego” was my thought.  This did not rest well with me.  I saw it as a challenge to find a better way…..and I did!!  With my deep connection to meditation and its relationship to managing my pain, I heard my inner guidance….”Go to the place of meditation, before I attempt the Plank, and stay there… then witness the outcome.”

So… I did!  In Calgary, morning of January 6,2015, at my Dad’s condo, I opened my eyes, to discover  the 4 minute mark. with ease and grace!!  WooHoo!!

 

In Reflection:  We can all transform… with the intention and daily discipline….Yes, it does take commitment and strong will.  Heartfelt gratitude to all who have and continue to grace my path with love.  If you are looking for personal advice and a guide through your process… I encourage you to email me and we can discuss your dreams.   Believe in the Magic!!  

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://karenbarker.ca/infamous-yoga-plank-how-it-has-transformed-my-body-and-mind/

5 comments

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  1. Erin Yungblut

    This post hit close to home for me. I can relate to the overwhelming feeling of needing a complete rest – both mental and physical. Sometimes, you need to take a step back before you can take a giant leap forward.

    Mostly, though, I too believe in the power of the plank! There is something about its simplicity that makes it truly challenging. Like a lot of things in life, you think it looks easy…until you try it. There are very few static strength moves, and the plank is the hardest yet most effective, in my opinion. It hits all areas of your abdominals and obliques, back, and shoulders…and you’re not risking overuse injury like in other core moves. Mastering the position itself is easy enough, but it is mastering your mind during the plank that is the biggest challenge. I find I set myself up in the perfect position, promise myself I’m not going to look at my watch until AT LEAST 30 seconds have gone by…and sure enough, 15 seconds in, I’m already wishing it were over! So Karen, I will take your advice on entering a different mental state, being with what is, and then witnessing the outcome. Like the simplicity of the position itself, I need a simple mental approach to this tough move.
    The plank is a lot like life – you can set yourself up in a perfect position all you like, but to make it in the long run, it takes strength, power of will, and the mental ability to just accept what is to be truly successful.

  2. Neil Fox

    Great job on the plank, and building up your muscle endurance. The basic plank is truely a fundamental exercise to support the lower back. Now that you’ve mastered that position, please implement the side plank into your routine. If you need help with that just let me know. Neil Fox

  3. Lynn

    Awesome, Karen! I am going to try this! plank idea I will keep you posted….I just did 30 seconds….:) HNY! Thank you for the inspiring story.

  4. Sherry

    You are an amazing woman Karen. You have been an inspiration to me to keep forward momentum through my own trials. Thank you for being a blessed example of not giving up and reclaiming your life. I too am doing the same and it is the most wonderful feeling!

  5. Leisha

    Wow…that blows the hinges of any part of a closed heart. That was awesome Karen. What a beautiful way to honour your journey and release the gifts of it out towards others.
    I was so inspired that I decided to give it a go, it’s MAGIC!

    I love this and love you and all of the beautiful gifts you bring this world.

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