A Decade of Yoga

As I mentioned last week, it’s been about a decade since I first started yoga. I’ll be honest, I was not excited about my first class. I had gone because a friend had been going to a hot yoga study that offered a bring-a-friend day and she really wanted me to go with her. I’ve always tried to be supportive of my friends and so I agreed, after she asked more than a few times.

I was not in the best place in my life just then. I had lost my son after his premature birth a few months earlier and felt like hell physically and emotionally. It was not the best time, but she insisted. It’s hard to describe what happened in that class to people who have never really experienced yoga.

I went to class and sweat through all of the poses, sometimes feeling like I was holding them forever. Somewhere in there, the rest of the world fell away and all that remained was the beads of sweat that rolled down my face and dripped off of it, the sound of the instructors voice, and the near-oppressive heat of that room. It may not have made everything all better, but it let me feel a strange kind of mental rest that I hadn’t had in months. When it was all over, my body felt so good, I could have done anything.

I was instantly addicted.

Now, this was eleven years ago (ten before the events of the last post) and the Wii had just come out with an exercise game. This was a few months before Wii Fit. This game just had a virtual instructor that would take me through poses or other kinds of exercises and I could change the difficulty level. It was not the most ideal way to practice, but I was pretty broke back then and couldn’t afford the classes my friend took.

I used that for a few years, off and on, because chances to do yoga were never consistent my life. Then I tried the P90X version with another friend, which was brutal. A year or so later, I finally had the ability to attend a class regularly for a few months, which was revolutionary. And then Pinterest came into world.

Ah, Pinterest. It changed everything. I have three yoga boards at this point and they each have several sections. It was at the point when I started making my own flows with Pinterest that yoga went from being exercise that I enjoyed to essential in my life. I could do a flow at whatever pace I wanted and found so many great poses to incorporate that moved my body in ways that it desperately needed to be moved.

It was just two years ago that people started seeing me do yoga and asking if they could join me. I was always uncomfortable with that, since I wasn’t an instructor, but I never wanted to keep anyone from yoga, so I let them. Of course, this contributed to my decision to go to instructor school last year.

I still rely a lot on Pinterest for picking up new poses or styles or figuring out how to build up to poses I want to do. Here are my boards:

This first one is just poses that look fun and stay I want to try or need to keep in mind.
This one is for those poses that I just can’t get into yet but I’d love to be able to do one day. Yoga isn’t about the pose or the exercise specifically, but so many poses feel so good once I can get in them and they just take my mind to different places that it’s always worth trying something new or building up to it.
This one is specifically for those poses from the last board that I’m actively working on.

One of the great things about a yoga practice is that you don’t have to be in the same place every day, or start from any point. Some days I will be more flexible. Some days I will be more rigid. Some days I will need to relax or calm my mind. Some days I just need to power it out. Some days I need to feel like there is progress in my life and some I will need to feel stillness. Yoga can accomodate it all. It is a rock in my life that I can always choose to move or just feel the steady support of.

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