Although because of “life” it took me more than the prescribed 7 weeks to get here, today was the day that I would see if I could really do 108 push-ups and gave myself the ” The Test.” This was of my own volition because the book doesn’t even prescribe a test, which in my opinion is a glaring omission. The way it goes is that the workout finishes and you turn the page and the next chapter begins with “Now that you have completed 100 push-ups…” Wait. No test????? What do you mean…, how can there be NO BIG TEST DAY TO SEE IF THE PROGRAM ACTUALLY WORKS!!!” I plan on writing the author as I could not have been the first to notice this!
The last workout had the following sets: 20, 20, 24, 24, 22, 22, 22, 60+ I managed to get through the lot but had to take much longer rest breaks then the prescribed “1 minute” as well as a few “pauses” during my last set of 64. Given that it took me probably triple the time that the book suggests ( “1 minute between sets, unless you need longer”…heck yes, I needed longer.), I am not sure if it even counts but that’s how I did it. That being said, 200+ push ups in about 45 minutes with relatively good form, (rest breaks included), is really nothing to sneeze at. Considering I started out at only being able to do 20 non-stop push-ups at the beginning of the challenge and now managed over 200 in 45 minutes, there is obvious improvement. I’ll get to “The Test” in a minute…although I think you may already have an idea of the final number…
A few weeks ago I attended a yoga program in Budapest, Hungary sponsored by the Hungarian Yoga Association with Paramahamsa Sansangananda. During a satsang she was talking about the importance of meditation and how even 10 minutes is better than no minutes a day. Making time for some meditation regularly is much more productive in the long run then struggling through a much longer practice infrequently. Having experienced this struggle first hand I completely agree. I feel so much better about myself when I sit for 10 minutes than when I don’t sit at all. It is funny, I find that I don’t quantify my yoga practice like I do a fitness workout or any other goal oriented things that I am involved in. There is a lesson here I am sure…
Those of us who study yoga and practice it regularly know that it is a journey that will most likely take more than a few years or even life times to achieve and certainly will not be accomplished in 7 weeks time. How many lives have I already lived to make it to a relatively measly 10 minutes -20 minutes ???!! ;-) Anyone who has sincerely studied and practiced yoga would not expect someone to be able to sit motionless and clear-minded for an hour or more after only practicing for 2 months! The mind, which is stronger than any muscle could ever become, takes much longer to tame.
So, consistently over 8 or so weeks I made an effort to increase the number of push-ups I could do through a prescribed regular practice. My arms are more sculpted and I clearly have gotten stronger for the effort.
Today, while performing “The Test” I started to struggled at push up number 47, knowing full well that there was no way I was going to make it to my goal of 108. Great, I thought…so much for that goal… then I thought of both Swami Satsangi and my teacher Swami Atmarupa and remembered something… the number “54.” While 108 is the most auspicious number in yoga, 54 is a divisor of that number and because of that is auspicious in its own right. With my eye on 54 I made it through the last 7 push-ups.
54 is no 108 but that is where I am at this time and I am okay with it.