If you have known me for a while or read my previous blog you know I was very anti-yoga (except for yoga pants, best invention ever). The few times I've tried it I felt terribly uncoordinated and uncomfortable and left annoyed and sore. When I started taking classes at Studio Poise in September I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone. I tried cardio classes I'd never normally do. I tried HiiT classes and fell in love. Then I decided a Hip Hop Flow was a class worth a shot. It's a vinyasa flow yoga class set to hip-hop music in a heated room. Crazy right?
The first few classes were chaotic and confusing. Downward what? Upward who? I was totally lost. However I loved that everyone was doing their own thing and not noticing my inability to hold a pose. It took a while to learn my body but Ali is an amazing instructor and offers a million modifications along with really clear instructions. I embraced props instead of berating myself for needing blocks and I pushed myself to actually clear my head before class. Ali always starts by saying leave whatever you had going on in your day to the side and bring your energy to the mat. It's crazy how hard it is to stay focused and avoid letting your mind wander. A typical 2 minutes in my brain looks like this: “Am I breathing? I must be breathing or I'd pass out. I wonder if anyone has passed out in yoga before? Man I like this song. Who knew you could side plank to Notorious BIG!? Chaturanga is fun to say. Chat-ur-anga! Ooh my favorite part, Supta Baddha Koṇāsana! I wonder how you spell that? Who came up with all these yoga words?”.
I am exhausting(in a good way?). If you've ever been in the car with me you know this to be true. ;)
My favorite song we hear in yoga is called “Surrender” by Matisyahu and the part I love the most is:
In my next lifeCould I take another turn?SurrenderSurrenderTwo eyes make the prize, live the life I know why, dove cries, stars shine, and I fly through the night's With my sights set on the next bet, my life is not set yet....I got no regrets cause to get where I'm going
So, instead of just showing up and "doing" yoga I decided to embrace the challenge and surrender. Let go of my thoughts, relinquish control of my body and just go with the flow. It's so much easier said than done for me ~ I like being in control, I like being in charge, I like planning and knowing exactly what comes next. However, in yoga you are at the mercy of someone else and the only way to truly enjoy it is to let go.
Yoga makes me feel so small in such a huge world and simultaneously so grateful for where I am in my life. I can take an hour to focus on strengthening and stretching my body and not just reap the rewards of a stronger body but also a calmer mind. I have a job flexible enough to make my own hours and I don't have any responsibilities outside of taking care of myself. I'm really lucky.
It's been 4 months of consistently practicing at least once a week (most times twice!) and it's safe to say I'm in love. I'm happier, I feel stronger, more centered, more flexible and it's honestly something I look forward to every Monday and Wednesday! Oh and I totally sleep better (who knew?!). I've also mostly gotten the hang of silencing the incessant chatter in my brain (no easy feat, clearly). I highly encourage anyone who had sworn off yoga to give it a second chance, with a open mind. It's honestly one of the best things I found in 2015 and a lifelong love affair. <3
And now for my favorite yoga funny: