I used to be very active. I started ballet at the early age of two – and did everything from ballet to modern dance to pom & cheer for 15 years. Dancing was my whole life – but I don’t have the body to be a professional dancer, and so I finally came to terms with that, and quit when I was 17.
After that, I became ISSA certified as a personal trainer through Bally Total Fitness (during one of the times when they weren’t bankrupt), and then went on to become kickboxing certified. I trained clients for a little under a year, and thus, basically lived in the gym and exercised multiple times every day. It was a fun experience – but I’m not a salesperson, and forcing training sessions onto people who don’t want them isn’t my idea of a fun career, so I left.
I’ve dabbled with weight lifting, running, Pilates, spinning, P90X and Extreme, swimming and Zumba, and probably some other types of exercise I’m forgetting. All of which I would get super excited about – do obsessively for a week or two (or sometimes a day or two…), and then totally quit because I wouldn’t lose 10 pounds or get a six pack right away. My impatience can be a problem, sometimes.
I’ve either been in school and/or working a highly sedentary job for most of my life, and especially since “real life” started (i.e., getting married and having to pay my own bills), I haven’t had much time to work out – or, so I keep telling myself.
See, I make lots of excuses – “I’m too tired” or “I’ll go tomorrow” are my two favorites. At the time, they don’t seem like excuses – they seem legitimate, and I believe myself when I say them. My giant bag full of excuses has kept me from really putting any effort into getting back into shape for a long time. I always say I want to make changes – but they never happen. Either they aren’t a priority, or life just gets in the way. Sometimes, both.
Or, I just don’t like my options for exercise. We recently bought mountain bikes – and that has actually been really fun. It’s something we make an effort to do at least once a week, and it’s a great cardio and leg workout without feeling like you’re doing hard work and getting nowhere (…like on the treadmill).
Yoga is another one of those exercise options that doesn’t feel like work to me.
My mom introduced me to yoga via a tiny studio in our hometown, Universal Spirit Yoga, when I was in high school. She started going to some Hatha Kriya yoga classes – aimed for adults or people with injuries/limitations (of which I have many, due to dance), and thought I might like to go with her. I went off and on for a few years, just one class here and there – and thought it was “alright.” It wasn’t fast paced and I didn’t really feel like I was getting a workout – oh, and the chanting and OMMMMMMMMing at the end of the class? I thought it was weird.
But, I’m also a goofball. I’m sarcastic, inappropriate, and downright weird. I giggle at things that shouldn’t be giggled at, and I do it at embarrassing times. It only makes sense that I wouldn’t fit into a crunchy granola yoga studio. What if someone farts in the middle of a pose? I’d lose my shit. (someone did start snoring once during Savasana, though – I was dying inside, but by that point had gained a little more self control and didn’t laugh out loud).
Anyway, there was one point in college when my mom and I went consistently – maybe two or three times each week for a couple of months – to yoga. I gradually got really into it – even the OM-ing – I looked forward to going and working out, because it was fun and I felt good when I did it. I didn’t see it happen, but one day – BAM! I woke up and noticed that my body was different. I can’t tell you how it was different – but it just was. I just felt better, and I felt like I looked better, too.
For some reason or another, we had to stop going so often, and so that amazing change I saw went away pretty quickly, and it was super disappointing. Ever since, I’ve been haphazardly trying to find a way back to that feeling. I tried Bikram yoga for a couple of weeks one summer – and it’s just too intense for me, but some people swear by it. I’ve tried Vinyasa Flow yoga, too – but the classes I took in Boston were hot, too fast, and I didn’t enjoy them. I couldn’t find any other yoga studios or styles that I liked, so I quit the search for awhile.
Well, after some recent life events (namely, making a choice to quit my job – then realizing that I have almost six figures worth of student loans to pay off – and then wondering how in the world we are going to survive financially until I find a new job), I found myself having a lot of free time. So, instead of stressing about money every moment of every day, I decided (together with my beautiful friend, Jenee) to start a blog (THIS blog, to be exact) and to finally take my health and fitness goals off the back burner.
I was doing some research on yoga styles to see if I could find an established type that I really liked. I loved the Hatha Kriya yoga that I started with, but I was hard pressed to find a yoga studio ANYWHERE near me that offered Hatha Kriya yoga. Bummer. Anyway, there are so many different types of yoga that I was getting overwhelmed with my search.
For some reason, I always thought that you were required to do yoga in sequences or flows – even though my Hatha Kriya classes never really seemed flow-y (the instructor would literally walk in and say “so, what do we want to work on today?, and go from there), so I was getting frustrated because there were some cool yoga poses that I wanted to try, but didn’t know how to get them into a flow, or didn’t want to put them into a flow.
At some point during this research, I said “forget flow, I’m going to make my own yoga workout!” – and I did just that. I put together a 45 minute workout comprised of many poses – all of which give me a full body and mind workout, with some added benefits like helping with digestion (YAY). Some of the poses in my workout I had done before, others I had seen somewhere and wanted to try, and some I had never heard of before. The whole point was to start. Somewhere, anywhere.
Let me disclaim: I am by no means a yoga expert – and I am not a yoga teacher, nor am I a yoga master. I am not certified in yoga anything. I haven’t really done yoga in a few years, actually. I am sure that there are many people who would discourage me from creating my own yoga workout or doing yoga on my own without an instructor, for any number of reasons. I will openly admit that I don’t know a ton about yoga technique, and I have a lot to learn about yoga in general. I do yoga in my home and at my own risk, and trust enough in my physical abilities not to hurt myself. All of the things I share with you here are just for information – and if you want to make any changes to your exercise plan – I suggest you do so with a certified professional.
Really, I’m just a gal who likes the idea of yoga and what it can bring to my life and my relationships with others, and I like what I believe it stands for.
I like the idea of pushing my body to do new things and finding out that I am stronger than I thought. I like the idea of meditation and letting negative energy go (for someone who can be a bit obsessive, stressed and anxious at times, this is very important to me). I like the idea of getting a good workout on my terms and at my own pace. I like the idea of listening to my body and feeling all of the incredible things it can do. I like the idea of increasing my flexibility and strength, and watching my body change at its own pace. Really, though, I like the idea of being able to go into myself, close down all of my thoughts, get lost in the poses, and at the end of it all, bring a new version of myself back to the real world – a self who isn’t as judgmental or negative, a self who is content with and proud of who she is, a self who is more in tune with her feelings and needs, and a self who is in a brighter, better place than where she started. After yoga, I truly believe that I emerge a happier version of who I was before.
So, my goal is to become a self-proclaimed yogi. I am working towards doing at least a little bit of yoga and meditation every day, and am hoping to find a recognized style of yoga that fits my own personal style, so that I can become a certified yoga teacher sometime in the next year or two. I am excited to start this journey to a healthier, happier me – and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.