Committing to the practice

October 5, 2009

I had wanted to try yoga since my late twenties.  It always felt gentle, non-intrusive, and I was always curious as to why yoga people always looked so great.  They were all toned and young.  I figured they were doing something in addition to yoga.

As yoga started to become mainstream around the turn of the century and my gym membership started to include these classes, I decided to check it out.  Not necessarily consistent or rigorously in a power class or anything.  I enjoyed it when I went after a regular cardio workout and found the meditation at the end, the greatest of rewards for working out, but still felt unfilled by the practice.

Switching gyms several years later brought better and more classes.  I routinely bounced from classes to the elliptical machine or kickboxing and back again.  I enjoyed the power and sweat from burning out 600 calories jamming to my I-pod on the elliptical.  Then, the comfort of stretching and balance, and relaxation of yoga.  The combination was working for me.  I wasn’t losing a lot of weight or anything, but I could see little changes in my attitude and temperament and felt more confident in my poses.

My body was improving in strength, balance, and flexibility.  For the first time in almost 20 years, I was sitting on my heels without my knees hurting.  They had gradually become more flexible. 

I walked straighter and held my body, as well as, my attitude with more confidence.  Yoga builds a different kind of confidence, inner confidence.  Not the kind you get from being validated or complimented by other people, but the kind that comes from within; a genuine, authentic confidence that can’t be stifled by envy or judgment.  Sure, only a few people saw me in that handstand during class, but that didn’t matter, I knew I had done it and would do it again and again.  And it got me wondering what else I could do that I didn’t think was possible.  I often hear one of my early instructors in my ear when I am ready for the next step, gently saying, “you are ready to evolve”.  I hear this both on and off the mat.

More strength, balance, and flexibility, along with the confidence lead to an overall healthier body.  I started wanting healthier things to eat and less of it.  I started moderating alcohol because I didn’t want to miss class the next day and the antics that came along with a night out just wasn’t worth it anymore.

And all of these things lead to a healthier body perception.  You start to appreciate your body for how amazing it is and all of the things it can do.  You marvel at the endurance you have acquired and how you want to try the next level of the pose which quickly translates into your life and you find yourself taking risks and growing outside of the practice.  I began to take the stairs and eat an apple everyday.  I began to look at my life and what I really wanted to make of it.

I found myself looking for more yoga classes to fit my schedule and ones that were in the back studio where I could get more one on one instruction. I quickly noticed not only the lack of options, but also the additional money I had to spend to get them. 

I sampled a couple of yoga studios in my area as a drop in until I found one I loved, resigned my gym membership, and committed to the practice of yoga.  This was the perfect opportunity for me to recondition my mantra.  No one knew me at the studio.  I wasn’t the girl with the bad knees to them and I wasn’t going to identify myself as that.  I wasn’t going to buy into the belief that they were never not going to hurt.  I wasn’t going to define myself as someone who suffered chronic pain and called unnecessary attention to it.  We are what we create and we are what we believe and I decided to try something radical for myself and shift the perception  I would take the confidence gained at the gym studio and reset the baseline.  I would begin to build again but starting from a new place.

Early on in my Reiki sessions, as I was battling over self image and guilt any time I ate something out of the 5 food group pyramid, my Reiki master said to me, “I see you going to yoga about four times a week.”  I laughed internally as I thought, WHATEVER!  I am an aging women and I already have 15 more pounds to lose and I can’t even get that off without suffering.  How will I ever maintain a healthy body without a regular cardio workout and only yoga? 

Now I see how.  Because yoga changes the inside AND the ouside.  My Reiki therapist was right, it is now three years later since that appointment, and I practice yoga about 4 times a week and have never been more healthy or more happy.  I laugh again, but at myself this time.  Whether the univese gets the timing we want or not is a gamble, but it is always correct.

From the mat,



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