Definitely A Stretch (literally and figuratively)

My alarm went off at 5:15, but I had been in a blissful state of semiconsciousness for about a half hour. My mind was filled with tranquility. You see, I am a teacher and summer vacation had finally arrived. As I wiped the sleep from my eyes however, nervous trepidation crept into my body, as I slowly realized what day it was. Suddenly, I felt like a kindergartener on their first day of school. But the thing is, I am not a kindergartener. And I am not 6. I am a 46 year old, about  to head off to my first yoga class.

I have taught many fitness classes: step, Spinning, aerobics, BodyPump. You name it. But never yoga. Yoga has always intimidated (scared the living daylights out of) me. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s the secret language (Tadasana, Trikonasana or Balasana…even with translations I can pronounce …Downward Facing Dog, Warrior or Tree Pose …I still don’t know what on earth I’m suppose to do). Maybe it’s the lack of shoes (I have runner’s feet), or quite possibly it may be the body hugging clothing yogis wear (I’m a sports shorts and t-shirt kinda girl). Anyway, I have avoided yoga like the plague.

Made sure I had a pedi to hide missing toenails and to take the eye away from my bruised tootsies.
Made sure I had a pedi to hide missing toenails and to take the eye away from my bruised tootsies.

Despite my fears, I have always been envious of  yogis. Just look at Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jenny McCarthy. They are all in their 40’s and look phenomenal. Of course I realize there is probably more to the attainment of their physique than just yoga (hello personal trainers and chefs), but still; who doesn’t desire their sculptured abs, well defined legs, and toned arms? Plus, they move with grace and have a level of self confidence I aspire to have.

I understand just how beneficial yoga could be for me. It could give my body a much needed weekly reprieve from running. As I age, I totally understand the importance of cross training and recovery days (or at least I am beginning to, since I am nursing a knee that I just…out of desperation…got injected with cortisone) . And while I do throw biking and strength training into my fitness routine, yoga is a totally different mindset and workout.

I am hopeful that yoga will provide me with a mind-body-spirit connection. It could give me the “zen” I tend to lack in my life.  My mind is always racing from one thing to the next (despite the fact that I am continually telling myself to relax). I really want  a way to “quiet” my mind and find my focus. I want to live in the now. From all that I’ve read, yoga can do just that.

But the most honest reason for wanting to give yoga a try, is because  I want to love my body. I want to appreciate it for what it can do rather than analyze its every flaw.  I am hopeful that  once I  get in touch with my body, and appreciate it, I will find acceptance for what it looks like. And once I find acceptance, I will discover the confidence I need  to not judge myself so harshly; and with that acquired confidence, I will finally be able to  love my body without any reservations. I’ve heard that yoga has the power to do that. And I’m ready to stretch myself to make it happen.




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