I’m not patient enough
I’m not flexible enough
I can’t concentrate enough
I don’t have time
I’m too self-conscious
I’m not strong enough
I’m not in shape enough
It’s only for women
I can’t pay for classes
I already exercise
It’s just dumb, hipster stuff
That covers a good chunk of the excuses you might have to ignore the powerful ancient practice of yoga. I’m guilty of over half of these at various times in my life, just to add some perspective here.
So why am I such an advocate now and why do I care enough about you to share what I’ve learned?
Because it taught me to pay attention to myself. And until we can establish that, we are honestly useless to everyone in our life.
I’ve learned a lot from the women in my life and I believe that we are the sum of our experiences and the people we let in, so I choose my influences wisely. With that said, my curiosity for yoga stemmed from one of these women.
It wasn’t until I saw first-hand what life is like for someone who consistently practices yoga that I started wondering if I had overlooked the benefits. I was already looking for solutions for my own lack of wellbeing and the universe has a way of leaving care packages at your doorstep when you are in pursuit of positive things. This care package came in the form of a coworker who exuded energy and positivity and credited her ability to thrive each day to her yoga practice.
Her inspiration led me to my living room floor typing “yoga” into the YouTube search bar of my television. At that point, I was drowning in stress from overworking myself as a high school teacher so when I saw Yoga For Teachers I went with it.
What happened during that 30 minutes was totally unexpected and completely different from any of my prior experiences trying yoga. I found myself crying… laughing… letting go… finding hope… all in one half-hour experience. So I searched for more on the Yoga with Adriene channel and started with some basic, slow moving videos that focused on breathing, meditation, and form. Nothing overwhelming. Nothing confusing and fast-paced to scare me away forever.
Just the act of doing something healthy for yourself can make you feel better. The first two weeks after trying yoga, I couldn’t miss a day of it. Some nights, I just wanted to crawl into bed but it was making such a difference for me that I was actually afraid to tackle the next day without a dose in my system. I’ve certainly missed days since then but it’s most definitely something I look forward to every day and it’s something that gave me very fast results in a lot of areas.
After the first week…
I felt more relaxed.
My muscles and bones felt less stiff.
I gained flexibility.
I increased my muscle mass and strength.
I had more self-awareness.
I had better circulation and less random aches & pains.
I experienced better focus throughout my day.
I had less stress & anxiety symptoms.
I gained self-esteem.
I had noticeably more energy.
My mood was stable.
I had more patience.
I smiled more.
I wanted to do more for my health.
Oh look, my reasons to do it just exceeded my reasons not to. 😮
Now, I have experienced some of these benefits through other types of exercise but it didn’t feel quite like this. It also wasn’t combined with having to get to the gym and the distractions, self-consciousness, and exhaustion that come along with that experience. I never stuck with it more than two weeks which caused an endless cycle of guilt and shame.
Yoga taps into all things but it depends on what you do and how long you do it. Cardio and weight lifting are just as important. It’s all about balance. I now enjoy regular visits to the gym, hiking, and kayaking so it’s been refreshing to experience those transformations through my wellness journey.
But there’s nothing quite like lighting some candles, putting on relaxing music, popping on a video (or not), and just throwing down a mat whenever you have a quiet moment to center yourself.
My challenge for you…Find something to awaken your spirit and be inspired to learn more, do more, and BE more.
We’re only on this Earth for a short time. Let’s learn to cherish ourselves and enjoy a more peaceful existence. Until we meet again…