As a runner, the extra mile is a feat that requires great motivation and energy – especially after all the miles I’d already completed in the 45 to 50 minutes before. For me, “going the extra mile” can be more than just an idiom referring to a little extra effort put into a task. For me, “going the extra mile” is often a real, physical achievement beyond the ordinary made possible by a huge burst of energy, strength and enthusiasm. Whether I literally run an extra mile, or “go the ‘extra mile'” figuratively (be it with an extra however many minutes with my jump rope, a longer yoga session, or a workout – even if it’s mild – on my day off), it always feels awesome.
Today, as it turned out, was my “off” day. Since I’d started combining my cardiovascular workouts with my yoga practice to create a longer, more intense version of what I was doing before (it usually works out to approximately an hour and a half of sweat-soaked, invigorating intensity, culminating with the deepest relaxed dissolution into a savasana I know), I’ve come to alternate 4 days’ consecutive workouts with 1 day off.
However, waking up this morning in an efficient and productive mood, I accomplished all of the pre-travel busy-ness that I wished to accomplish (namely packing and tidying) in no time. I found myself with hours to spare. I decided to pass my time with a yoga session. In other words, I decided to, in a sense, go an “extra mile”.
I’m inspired to write about how awesome it feels to have gone this “extra mile”, now that I’m sitting on the relieved-yet-exhausted finished end of a long day of flying and waiting. This morning’s yoga had prepared me both physically and mentally for 7 hours of uncomfortable and cramped seating, intrusive elbows and crying babies. It also put me in the right mental space to deal with the chaotic and sometimes mildly shocking adjustment that going from a tiny, isolated fly-in Arctic village to such bustling metropolises as Montréal and Québec City.
But in retrospect, the “extra mile” is awesome for more reasons than the satisfaction of having done it after the fact. As I reflect on my yoga session yesterday – my “extra mile” – I see that in it, I’d put true effort, which stemmed from true motivation. This wasn’t just another workout completed because routine dictated that I had to. This was because my mind and my heart dictated that I wanted to. Thus, breaking the barrier that routine can sometimes create, my yoga yesterday was not about working up a sweat, burning calories or carving another notch in my tally of the week’s workouts (counting down to my next “off” day). It was about the experience of yoga itself.
As I went my “extra mile”, I found myself both experimenting with the asanas and pushing myself to a whole new level. Even if I wasn’t thinking it at the time, the fact that this was an “extra mile” freed my mind of any motives or goals I tend to usually have and just focus on not only experiencing yoga, but experiencing it in a new and better way. This awesome experience is all the more reason – if not, the primary reason – why the “extra mile” is awesome.