After making the commitment to myself to give it a real try this time, I stopped to reflect on my past yoga experiences. Why hadn't I stuck with it before? I soon realized that the location of the class was the number one reason why I didn't make yoga a priority in my life. I had only taken yoga classes at the gym, where beefy muscle guys and pumped up marathoners were getting their workout on just on the other side of the window. Definitely not a zen environment. I mean, would you be able to focus on your breath and confidently bust out into warrior 2 with people rocking out to LMFAO and dropping 50 pound weights in the other room?? For me the answer was a definite "N-O!" So, off I went on a search for yoga studios.
While I'm at yoga, I am calm. If you know me, "calm" is probably never an adjective you've used to describe me! While I would love to call myself calm, I just know that it's not an inherent quality of mine. I strive to achieve a sense of calm in my life every day, but I understand it's something I have to work for, and that's okay. Now that I've found one way to get there, it feels great!
Yoga allows me to love my body. It's no secret that many women have a love-hate relationship with their own bodies, and I am definitely one of those women. While I try not to put myself down, I sometimes find that I'm telling the hubs that "I look sooo fat." Ewww, just writing that makes me cringe. I know this kind of negative self-talk is no good for me (thanks Caitlin! :)), and yoga allows me to appreciate my body. While taking the time to breathe through a particularly difficult pose, I often think about how thankful I am that my body can achieve such great things. I told anyone who would listen how proud I was to be able to do a back bend (wheel pose) at yoga last week!
My anxiety! Remember the anxiety I wrote about last week (hard to forget when it's the post right below this :))? Although it's only been a short time since I've started going to yoga, I can certainly say that I am noticing a difference in my anxiety. While I absolutely still have my moments, I realized the effect yoga was having on my anxiety when I started feeling anxious the other day. As I felt it coming on, I thought to myself, "I wish I had been able to go to yoga today." Wow - total light bulb moment for me. I am hopeful that yoga will be a key ingredient to managing my anxiety in the future.
Finally, yoga allows me to have a meaningful escape. Life can get so crazy and hectic at times, and I struggle to take meaningful time away from my responsibilities. What does that mean? To me, this means that I can get away from responsibilities and stressors in my life while still doing something that has a purpose. In the past, I'd often find myself "escaping" by sitting on the couch watching TV while goofing off online (see, I told you I wasn't calm - I can't even watch TV without doing something else!). With yoga, I feel good about the time I'm taking for myself to relax. I don't think I've ever gotten up off the couch after an episode of Top Chef and thought to myself, "Wow, I feel great after that episode!" Yoga, to me, is a meaningful way to escape.
After getting to yoga over the last couple of weeks, I really do feel great. I know that I'm still learning about the discipline and I've only gone a few times, but I feel so good that I'm know I will keep it up (and if not, I'll come back and read this!). I'm looking forward to seeing where my yoga journey will take me, and I'm thrilled that I can begin to say that I am a real practitioner of yoga.