Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Yoga: My First Week


Disclaimer: This post was penned while J slept. Please forgive any grammatical errors.

At the end of 2016 I made the word "actualize" my theme and driving force for 2017. If you haven't read One Word and you don't find making resolutions or setting goals to work for you, give it a read. I received the book as a gift from my dad for Christmas and I finished it in just a few days. 

As a kid, did you picture your adult self living a certain kind of life? I'm sure you did. I did too. The only problem was, as an adult, I continued picturing this sort of life...and that was the problem-I was "picturing" it, not living it. I had a list of things I wanted to make a reality this year and one of the items on my list was to attend a yoga class. 

This is all fine and dandy, aside from one minor detail: I get incredibly freaked out by the unfamiliar and super "gymtimidated." The day I hyped myself up to finally go to a class, I took one look at the crowd of super limber, gorgeous, blonde, pony-tailed crowd and turned around and booked it out of there. I felt so defeated and resolved to go the next day no matter what stood in my way: traffic, fear, bleeding limb...I WOULD be there! And I was.

And...I was there the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that, and so on. One hit of that downward dog was all it took and I was completely addicted.

I'll spare you the list of benefits of yoga. You probably already know them, and it you don't I'm definitely not the person to ask...Google is. For me, I sought yoga for more than the bod (although that was totally part of it); I wanted the mental health aspects of it...and an itty bitty part of me wanted to be able to say, "Yeah, I do yoga-no big deal." Maybe I shouldn't admit that...

I've hinted at the fact that I've dealt with some mental health problems for most of my life. I'd heard that yoga could help people with an array of mental health issues from bipolar disorder to anxiety. Sign me up. I don't know what I expected, but I didn't expect to feel such significant change so soon. 

On the physical side of the spectrum, I'm already feeling longer, leaner, and stronger. I'd love to be a girl who lifts. Unfortunately, joining the guys with all their grunting and selfies and ass-checking-outting, I avoid that corner of the gym. After Juniper was born, my body bounced back and I weigh less now than when I got pregnant! But, while the weight is gone, so is all muscle tone and balance. Yoga is so much more than stretching and meditation. Our instructors kick my butt. By the middle of the class I'm shaking to hold a pose and sweating all over my mat (one of the methods I employ to ensure everyone stays far, far away!). I can see the little changes every day and I love feeling good about my body.

I've also become far more aware-of my emotions, how my body feels, and my breathing...turns out, I hardly breathe! This awareness forces me to be in the moment instead of fretting over the countless things I want to be doing or think I should be doing. I'm learning to simply "be" and accept who I am, where I'm at, and what I'm doing. Less and less do I second guess myself over every little thing. This confidence and acceptance is kind of new to me. For the first time in awhile, I'm confident for the right reasons, as opposed to superficial reasons.

I'm most grateful for the improvements in my attitude. I don't get a lot of me time anymore. If, God forbid, I brush my teeth for an extra minute, there is hollering outside the door by one of my four lovely "roommates" (partner, kid, pups). Getting out of the house and focusing on nothing but my body and breathing in a cool dark room sends me home with gratitude, love, and (some) patience. I walk through those front doors more often with a smile than the resentment and frustration that typically consumes me. Even Erik is encouraging me to continue going because he's noticed how much calmer I've been.

So, why write a whole post on yoga and how it's benefitted me personally? Well, first, it's nice to just share what's going in my life. I know I love reading plain ol' blog posts-ones that aren't trying to sell me something. Second, maybe reading this post pushes you to try something that makes you uncomfortable. I was so worried that these classes would be too advanced for me and make me feel and look stupid. I was worried I'd fall over, worried everyone would be watching me. First of all, I do look silly at times, sometimes the moves are too advanced, and I have fallen over. But...no one notices because they're too busy doing their own yoga thing. Bottom line, love yourself by setting higher standards for yourself and then meeting them. If I, Miss Routine, can bust out of her comfort zone, I guarantee you can! 

Okay, that's all for now...I'm off to another class. Bye for now!

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