When I was first presented with the offer to try yoga I laughed. Literally laughed out loud. Like ‘LOL’- for real.
I have been a cardio girl my entire life. I use to wake up at 5am to head to the gym before work and I would just run for miles on the treadmill. Then right after work I would head to the gym again and continue to run more and more miles. I was a size 2 with a beautiful flat stomach and toned legs. But after years of running, and having a son, I got bored and with boredom came experimenting. When I returned to working out shortly after having my son, I started with running outside with a stroller in tow. Then as winter approached in the lovely state of Illinois…I joined a gym yet again…I went through the elliptical phase, the rowing machine phase, and then there was the stairs. Not all gyms have this machine, but it is an actual set of stairs that rotates for you, so you can actually continue to climb forever! I was in love with this machine. I would run the stairs…do double time…two by two…double step… Every single morning I would head to the gym and do a bee line to the stairs. I would set the clock for an entire hour and be soaking wet with sweat before the timer hit 30 minutes. With sweat dripping off my body…I ate up every moment…pushing myself to my peak…loving every minute of it.
Every morning I would see the same people walk into a spin class across the way from the stair climbers. These people would walk into that class and then walk out dripping with sweat…same as myself. I was intrigued. But seriously? A bicycle? Come-on, how difficult could it really be?
But I had a friend who every other day would request my presence in this class…and every other day I would make up an excuse as to why I couldn’t go, until one day. I was about 15 minutes into my climb and he says,
‘I saved you a bike right next to mine’
I smiled for a second at the forwardness of the comment and replied,
‘No, I’m ok.’
And with that he pushed,
‘No, I saved you a bike, you have to take the class.’
I paused, smiled, turned off my machine and said,
‘Where do I sit?’
Setting up the bike at first seems like a big freakin pain in the ass, but now 5 years later it is no big deal. And man am I grateful for that man’s persistence, because I loved that first class so much that I went out and spent $70 on a pair of spin shoes, and within a year I was certified as a Spin Instructor, teaching as many as three classes a day…and as many as 10 classes a week. I was on a roll again…and I loved loved loved it! Such a great adrenaline rush, unlike any cardio I had ever experienced. However, with the multiple classes and not giving myself any down time for about 3 years straight…I could feel it in my legs and hips. I could feel a pain…a slight grinding if you will. And I started to mention it to anyone that would listen…and with the complaints came advice and with the advice came ‘yoga’.
I resisted at first. And to tell you the truth I had to hear the same advice from about a dozen people before actually trying a class. I decided on a whim one day, instead of heading home after my 8:45am spin class I headed into a yoga class that had just started. Six woman one instructor and….Holy Crap was I BORED!!! No really…bored out of my mind…the slooooow, booooooring movement…the music…the quietness. Coming from a LOUD, motivational, screaming class of adrenaline pumping individuals to this was a HUGE change of environment. But because of the ongoing hip issue I took classes twice a week in that big cold room, it was….well….necessary. After awhile I figured if I must take the class I might as well teach it, so after being certified through LA Fitness I substituted for a yoga class a few times a month. But at this point I was even boring myself.
Then about a year later I moved to the SUN SHINE STATE….Florida, with my spin classes still going strong I was still in need of a yoga class…and in Florida I discovered HOT YOGA! I was invited by a neighbor of mine to a small studio located in Lighthouse Point, Florida. (Check it out >>> Awaken Yoga Studio) It was so different from the big cold room I was use to at the gym. When I walked in, it was dimly lit with mini candle like lights spread all over the perimeter of the room and it was so WARM!!! A friendly melody was playing in the background and a soft flooring hugged my feet as I walked in. I took my mat to the back and laid down, relaxed, satisfied with my new find. And from day one I was hooked! The sweat started to bead off my body about 15 minutes into the class, and by the end of the class (an hour later) I looked like I had taken a dip in a pool with my clothes on. It was amazing…simply amazing. This, my friends was exactly what I was looking for. A class that pushed your limits, had some flare, pushed each one of us past our boundaries, encouraging us to dig deep into our soul and search for a strength that no cardio could ever do for me. I truly found a workout that not only worked my body, but also my soul.
Now, I encourage everyone I know, to take yoga. I have truly found a whole other world of calm and self. Yoga takes you to places within your own soul that are impossible to see in the normal hustle and bustle of the world. Our bodies are in need of calm and center. We push our bodies to their limits with the horrible American diet we force upon ourselves, the air and noise pollution, stress and everything else that weighs us down. Our bodies need quiet and long slow stretching, to release tension, break down stress and just for overall health. I say all of this because this journey has taught me a valuable lesson…just because you try something once does not mean you were not meant to master it. A lot depends on where you are in your journey, your environment and surroundings, and the people that are accompanying you. If I would have stopped after a dozen classes of yoga insisting it wasn’t for me…insisting I was wasting my time…if I wasn’t *open* to the possibility of finding a connection with it…I would not have found a place that felt like home to me and I would not be the person I am today.
Yoga had changed my life.
Remember my friends to stay open to life, say yes to life, don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone, don’t be afraid to try something new. And never ever say you *hate* anything, because everything changes and everyone adapts…
Below are a couple of my favorite and slightly challenging yoga moves. These took me a few months and master…just ask Veronica. Ha.
Stay Fabulous My Friends.