Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Namaste

We got home later than planned yesterday, and I was truly bummed to be missing my favorite yoga class. I haven't made it in weeks, and I had it on the calendar as a "must do" for yesterday. Luckily, C convinced me that if I moved really quick, I could make it to class just a few minutes late (which I hate to do) and still enjoy my practice. He was right! Class had barely started as I flew through the gym doors and I grabbed a spot at the back so as not to disturb anyone. Mission accomplished!


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This is not what I look like while doing yoga.

If you had told me several years ago that I would develop a love for yoga, I probably would have just outright laughed at you. As far as working out and exercising goes, I generally feel drawn toward higher energy activities - my go-tos are BodyPump and running - and I had no understanding whatsoever of the benefits of yoga, or how much I would enjoy it. My mom and I started taking a weekly yoga class on Fridays as a way to relieve stress, and over the course of a year or so, I found myself looking forward to that class more and more. When C & I bought our house and I changed gyms, I was very pleased to find several yoga classes offered that would fit my schedule. It took some trial and error (not all yoga classes or yoga teachers are for everyone!) but I definitely found a class that challenges me, taught by a young woman who I really, really like. For me, Tuesday evenings are now my yoga nights, and I crave that 60 minutes devoted to vinyasa and everything else that goes with it.

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This is also not what I look like while doing yoga.

I will never be the bendiest yogini in the room, I will probably always lose my balance during tree pose, and I will doubt I will ever be able to truly clear my mind and relax during savasana. However, that doesn't mean that I can't achieve the benefits of a good practice, or that I don't get anything out of it. Yoga is the kind of thing where you get what you want to get out of it. Yesterday, in the dimly lit room with quiet music, surrounded by people, I felt that my mind was the clearest and I was the most at-peace that I've been in weeks. As I flowed through the motions and pushed myself to hold poses a little longer or go a little deeper, I felt calm and in control - something that is missing in my life right now. Knowing the way my mind wanders, I tried to focus intently on my breathing during final relaxation, pushes the unrelated thoughts away and repeating "breathe in, breathe out," with the flow of my breath. When we reached that final moment, where the teacher bowed and whispered, "namaste," I whispered it back like I always do. It felt a little different this time though - like I was saying it to her, and also to myself. Yoga benefits the mind, body, and soul. It sounds so cliche, but it's true. In that hour last night, I was able to recognize and glorify the divine within myself, and that is why I practice. Even if I can't hold crow pose for more than two seconds, and even though my knees creak during warrior one, I always come out of a class feeling better than when I went in. Is there any greater benefit, really? Methinks not.

Fact: "namaste" means "I bow to the divine in you" in Hindu. Cultural lesson for the day! :)

So tell me...
  • What is a fitness or exercise activity you never thought you could love?
  • Do you practice yoga? In a class or alone?
  • What's your favorite or most challenging yoga pose?

3 comments :

Lisa C said...

If you had a studio closer, I would suggest Pure Barre (the closest studio to y'all is probably the one in Alexandria). It's a mix of yoga and pilates and is a bit higher tempo than both of those. I love it.

Caroline {Virginia Sweet} said...

Love it! I have just gotten back in the dancing. Every Monday night I head downtown to my adult ballet class and love it. It is my time to escape the world and focus on me!!

Stephanie @ My Freckled Life said...

LOVE our Tuesday night yoga class. I've had to miss it the last few weeks too, and I'm definitely missing it! It's a nice mid-week way to calm my mind and actually listen to my body after running around like a crazy person all week! Beautiful post, as always!