There comes a point in exercise — whether it’s yoga, strength training, running or whatever you enjoy doing — that we reach a point of physical exhaustion. What fuels you to keep going? Maybe it’s be a mantra, an inspirational quote, remembering the reason you started in the first place… whatever it may be, there’s a reason you keep coming back.
When I started yoga a few months ago, I was such a newb. I always loved yoga because I’m naturally pretty flexible from dance, but I soon learned yoga is about WAY more than flexibility. (Note: I THOUGHT I was flexible until I saw the ways some people are able to bend their bodies…. Holy cow.)
I never understood why people were so obsessed with yoga, honestly. “Yeah. It’s a good way to stretch, but it’s not even really a workout,” I used to think to myself. Kind of like when I never understood why people were so obsessed with their dog until I adopted Cocoa.
And like I never understood the obsession with animals until I met a giraffe.
Yes, I’m a weirdo.
But, like what’s listed above, it’s one of those things you have to experience to understand.
How did my perception of yoga change? I found a fabulous yoga studio that challenges me physically and mentally. But you know what? It’s not solely a physical practice for me anymore. Obviously it challenges me physically (still waiting for the day I can hold a headstand/handstand/arm balance and be “at peace” like devoted yogis claim). But it also challenges me mentally.
I use my practice to connect to the universe. Honestly, I’ve never felt stronger in my relationship with God than I do right now. I set an intention for my practice — gratitude, grace, acceptance and I flow with it (quite literally).
So, what keeps me coming back to my mat?
Gratitude, strength, wisdom, peace of mind, mental clarity, JOY, peace, love, positive energy, the challenge, the ability to focus on the present, a room filled with people who are trying to better themselves, the rush of feeling things I’ve never felt before (physically and mentally), the ability to FINALLY love my body for what it’s able to do rather than how it looks, to honor God and to better myself.
Don’t let the fear of being inflexible scare you away from doing yoga. Trust me, if my dad can do it and love it, so can you :-P. As one of my instructors told me, there’s no such thing as a “good” yogi. Just when you think you’re good, someone comes along and makes something you struggle with seem effortless.
And yes, taking yoga classes at a studio is a bit more expensive than the free ones that come with your gym membership. Trust me, I get it. But unless you have a wonderful instructor at your chain gym that challenges you in the ways I’ve learned above (which I’ve never run into in all my time there. Generally that’s not their purpose because they’re looking to serve the masses and people who consider yoga just to be “stretching,” at no fault to them), it’s worth it to try a studio!
I see it as an investment in myself: the more I learn to understand my body and the way it works; the more I practice gratitude, self confidence, love, joy, grace and understanding; the better I’ll be able to serve others I’m in relationship with, especially my future personal training clients.
We’re all on this journey separately, but together. Humans are wired to crave a deeper connection beyond anything the physical world offers. I’ve found connection to the only One who will ever truly satisfy through yoga and meditation.
I hope you will, too.