I tried yoga for the first time when I was about 16-17. I was mature in a lot of ways, but definitely not when it came to yoga. I approached it as a physical task. Bend over and hold, stand on one leg and hold. The talk of ‘quieting your mind’ and those silly breaths they do at the end where you basically pant like a dog. Well it didn’t work for me.
I went to Bikram for the first time in College and loved it. In general the instructor toned down the poses since the heat added a lot more intensity on its own. I am not a stretchy person. You know when you’re seated and you put your feet together and try to get your knees to touch the ground?…yeah I can’t do that. So the fact that I wasn’t super good at it and I wasn’t into the “om-ing” and panting led to me leaving yoga in the past.
It didn’t even cross my mind again until I was at my midwife and she asked if I did yoga. I came home and found a prenatal yoga video on demand and gave it another go. Prenatal yoga is the shit. It is definitely the best yoga out there. It is super super laid back. You spend a lot of time laying on your side and breathing. So obviously I excelled at that.
Recently my SIL mentioned that she wanted to try yoga. So when a groupon showed up for a month of unlimited hot yoga (Bikram) we both bought it.
After that first class I knew yoga was something different to me now. Don’t get me wrong, the majority of the time I am just trying to get through each pose without dying. But the mental aspect has changed. When they say ‘stay present’ and ‘quiet your mind’, I actually know what that means now. And it doesn’t make me giggle….okay well the dog panting breath thing still makes me want to giggle.
The instructor’s at this particular studio try to push you, but also encourage you to listen to your body and give in to the need to rest….I am not gonna lie, I did a 90 minute hot hot session on Monday and spent the last 15 minutes just laying on my back I was so afraid I was going to puke….um don’t eat a sandwich 30 minutes before a hot hot class. Poor choices.
I guess I decided that it is okay to suck. I don’t need to look awesome when I do yoga. What I need is that mind body connection. Think about what you are doing, talk to yourself, praise it for what it is capable of and own up to your limitations. Breathe in to lengthen, breathe out to stretch
Basically yoga is just different for me now. So if you were like me and tried yoga at one time or another and thought it was hokey, maybe you should give it another go. Maybe you will find that yoga is exactly what you need too. Namaste.