I set a goal for myself this summer. My goal was to love yoga. Not just attend a class, but to become enamored of it. (Go big or go home!) I had developed an opinion about yoga many years ago when I was taking a fitness certification class, and was obligated to give it a try. Which I did. And I hated it. Absolutely hated it.
Now, I don’t want you to think I was a wimp. At the time, I was teaching step classes, aerobic classes, and strength training classes. I also ran and lifted weights. But I had never felt more incompetent than I did during that yoga class! I was less than graceful. It moved so slow and I struggled to keep my balance. I wondered how yoga could possibly qualify as a workout. I wasn’t even breathing hard! I swore I would never do it again.
I got old(er).
And a friend of mine encouraged me to take a class with her. I ignored her for over a year. But she managed to plant the idea in my head. So when I developed some overuse injuries from my running addiction, I began thinking. Maybe yoga was just what my body needed. I decided to give it another try. I signed up.
The first month of class was not all that enjoyable, but I was diligent. You can read about my first impressions here. I hated being a rookie and felt very out of place. The terms and the movements were not familiar to me. I watched in envy as other members of the class gracefully went through the poses. When I actually focused on myself, all I could think about was how bad my legs were shaking or how I couldn’t hold a balance. I heavily counted on the moral support of my friend, and of my daughters (who took turns going with me), as I was too intimidated to attend class by myself.
something happened. By mid July, I found myself looking forward to Thursday mornings (yoga days). I didn’t even care if I went to class by myself. I even willingly took a couple of classes when I attended a health seminar over the summer. I discovered the class had a predictable structure, which is very crucial to people like me. (A perfectionist with a severe need for organization and routine.) I began to feel the quality and intensity of each workout. It required a lot of strength to maintain the poses. I developed perseverance as I attempted balance poses. My range of motion improved. I became more aware of my posture. I practiced clearing my mind and relaxation. I left class with a sense of accomplishment and uncharacteristic calm.
And the best thing about yoga? I became more aware of myself, and less aware of others. By the end of summer I stopped comparing myself to other students in the class. I no longer focused my attention on them. Instead, I focused on my breathing and became aware of my own body, and how I was feeling at that moment. I no longer worried about performing poses imperfectly. For me, this was liberating.
I love yoga! And I can’t wait to sign up for the next session!