Yoga and I have been in a relationship for roughly 20 years now. I became hooked as a teenager, practicing in my room as a way to stay physically fit. Something about the way it challenged and relaxed me at the same time drew me to it. I love the feel of a vinyasa after a long day of sitting, the way it lengthens my body and stretches the muscles that sat too long in a chair. Or a sun salutation as the sun rises, helping wake my muscles up after a night of slumber. Yoga calms me, strengthens and centers me in a way that no other workout has been able to do.
There have been other workouts, of course. I spent a period doing Tae Bo as a way to work out pent up frustrations, pilates was my go-to before my wedding and I gave PiYo a try but it didn’t give me the same feelings that yoga did. Then there was that one time I tried the Insanity Workout. Shaun T, I love you but that workout is the devil and I’m convinced it would have killed me. :-s Walking has always held a special place in my workout practice, as well. Yoga, though, yoga I always return to.
I have gone some pretty lengthy periods without yoga but when I return to it I always feel at home. After a particularly long separation from yoga prior to moving back to Iowa, I decided that I wanted to get back into it. This time, I decided to try something I had never done before, instead of pulling out my workout Dvd’s or pulling up You Tube, I wanted to try attending a class. I had met a fabulous yoga instructor, Traci, via some freelance work I was doing and I was drawn to her. Her open and carefree personality made me feel like I could trust her to guide me through my return to yoga.
Traci’s classes at her studio, Sweaty Yogi, were awesome. The only time I could attend was her early class, before Matt left for work, so I would rise at 4:30 am, 3 days a week to drive to Dubuque, the next town over and attend her 6 am yoga class. If it had been any other instructor but Traci, I don’t know if I would have been able to rise so early and then make it through a class. Traci was peppy and a blast of sunshine and she pushed you. She taught me adjustments to positions that I was certain I had been doing correctly but realized I had them all wrong for years. Every time I do the chair pose I think of her because she would always stand in front of me and mime like she was pulling a rope, willing me to tilt my pelvis further under me. Suddenly, a move I didn’t think was that tough, kicked my ass, I loved it though and so did my thighs. Unfortunately, due to Matt’s work schedule change I had to stop attending Traci’s classes. 😦 I do hope to return to her, though, once my schedule allows for it again.
Don’t fret, though, I continued my yoga practice and found a wonderful YouTube instructor, named Adriene from Yoga With Adriene. She reminds me a bit of Traci, silly, carefree and loves to laugh. I have now committed to doing yoga at least 3 days a week but ideally, I practice 5-7 days a week. They’re not always long classes, sometimes I only have time for a quick 15 minutes but as long as I’m able to squeeze in my practice I feel so much more energized and able to make it through my days. Honestly, I do yoga for the corpse pose at the end, where you lie on the floor with your eyes closed and just breath. Okay, not just for corpse pose, but it’s a pretty damn good incentive to keep pushing to the end. 😉
Yoga hasn’t just helped me get to a better place physically, it nurtures my spirit and helps center me. Yoga is the only workout practice that I’ve found that truly helps me connect it all, the physical, mental and spiritual. For me, in order to feel my best, I need to workout all three. I can feel it when I’m not, my energy decreases, my body aches and my motivation just isn’t there. Yoga has it all for me, and though I wandered off to try new and exciting workouts at times, I always return to yoga. It’s where I belong and what benefits me the most.
Now that I’ve experienced it, and the right instructor does matter, I would definitely say a yoga class is the best. Honestly, though, not everyone has the time or the money for that. So YouTube, and specifically Yoga With Adriene for me has been my second best alternative. However I’m getting my practice in, I just need to be doing yoga.
Have you tried yoga before? What did you think? What workout practice do you follow that makes you feel like the best version of yourself? I’d love to hear in your comments below.