Some of you may remember my first introduction with Yoga. I signed up as part of a comfort zone challenge back in August. I’ve been refraining from mentioning too much about it because I wanted to make sure this wasn’t some hot and heavy love affair that I went on and on about, only to have it fizzle up, leaving me with nothing but lame excuses as to why things didn’t work out. Well, Yoga and I are done sneaking around together. It’s time I shared my love with the rest of the world.
Yoga and I have been on roughly 25 dates (classes) since I walked into the yoga studio in August. Have you ever tried something and knew immediately that it was made for you? I fell into a rhythm that just felt right, almost instantly. Out of all the other exercises I’ve ever done in my life, none of them have ever made me feel the way this one does. You know that feeling of accomplishment you get after a really good workout? I get that, but not just because I’ve mastered or held a certain pose – it goes much deeper than that. In no other exercise have I ever worked on both my body and my mind at the same time. Usually after any exercise (like running, for example) I’m just left feeling tired. Accomplished, yes – but tired. Here are a few things that Yoga has taught me:
One. I don’t feel inadequate. See, exercise has never been my friend. Since grade school I’ve avoided it like the plague because I’ve never been good at anything I’ve ever tried, and when you’re playing on a team, feeling like and being treated like an uncoordinated monkey-girl doesn’t do much for the ole’ self esteem. In Yoga, there are no teammates to impress, no aggressive competition, no win or lose; there’s no room for any of those things in practice. Instead, it’s all about learning to be non-judgmental, being accepting of oneself, and appreciating your achievements in your own time. How cool is that?
Two. I’ve never appreciated my body this much before. Even though the class itself is serene and quiet, my body is constantly giving me feedback on what it’s capable of doing.
Three. For someone with anxiety issues, it’s invaluable. I no longer wonder how I’m going to get my worth out of my pre-paid classes. I look forward to going – I need to go in order to regain a sense of balance. When class is over, I can handle things better and with a better outlook.
Four. When class is over, I feel balanced. Both calm and relaxed, yet recharged and focused, all at the same time. I’ve been searching for this kind of peace most of my adult life.
Five – and this is so important – I’ve been to roughly 25 classes since August, and in every single one, I have seen men and women; I’ve seen ages ranging from 10 years old to 70 years old. I’ve practiced side by side with individuals who weigh over 200 pounds, and Angelina Jolie look-alikes who are utter beginners.
My friend Jules just went back to Yoga for the first time in a long while and emailed me about it. Her teacher encouraged everyone to close their eyes while they practice because, according to Jules, ‘it removed the temptation to compare with others’. In one of my classes, we practice with our backs to the studio’s full-length mirror. My instructor doesn’t want us focusing on how we look or how anyone else looks. A good teacher knows when students are distracted and makes corrections accordingly. I guess what I’m saying is that, if you’re hesitant to try Yoga because of a feeling of inferiority, the above examples should put your mind to rest.
Six. Yoga is challenging! I have to admit, one of the reasons why I never considered Yoga was because frankly, I didn’t understand how something that looked so calming could make you fit. Boy, was I wrong. Granted, there are classes for every skill level and I’ve been in classes that are so relaxing to the mind and body I feel like napping afterward. But there are also classes – like the one I took on Monday – that leave every muscle in my body sore for days afterward; the good kind of sore.
So, there you have it. I’ve officially ‘outed’ our relationship and frankly, I feel relieved. I don’t particularly like keeping secrets from you; especially something that has brought so much joy to my immediate life.
Thanks for reading today, and have a great Wednesday. Namaste.