Building Mental Toughness


When I was running trails in Northern California, I encountered the truth that 90% of a successful run is due to mental strength. Our bodies can do so much more than our brains allow for because, of course, our brains want to protect our bodies. They send out signals that we just…can’t….go…on…gasp, long before we are physically depleted. It’s a self-preservation issue.

That mental toughness I was rediscovering on the trails is being engaged now in the Bikram Torture Chamber (as he calls it).

Anyone, who has done any physically and mentally challenging task (in other words, a physical challenge that involves FEAR) knows that deep emotional feelings come up under that kind of stress. It’s an important skill to be able to feel immense frustration, anger and other intense emotions and work through it to the point of letting go. Any elite athlete will confirm this point.

Bikram yoga, due to the extreme heat and physical difficulty of contorting one’s body in that very heat, provides ample opportunity for working through strong emotions. The whole point of sticking with it, develops deep perseverance, determination and inner strength—IF you let it.

So, I don’t like it much. It absolutely kicks my butt; yet, I am almost addicted to the promise of a healthy body. I’ve got another week to go, but am getting weary going every day. It is truly exhausting.

Just as in running, once you build a strong base, it lasts for a long time. You can take time off and still go back and run almost as well. I’m hoping that that the next week will help me build my base for a healthy spine and body. Fingers crossed.


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