So either you thought – she forgot the “t” or she is talking about that weird exercise thing.
Yeah it’s the second.
I want to take you on a journey, close your eyes….um no don’t that’s a stupid idea since this is a freaking blog.
I want to share with you my yoga history. (Don’t turn away, I’m going to make this fun!)
A long time ago I was in college. Not with your mom, I’m not that old. While in college I was a wild child who went through this weird phase of trying to be ahem “alternative” in my living. One piece of that was hanging out in yoga class on Tuesday nights. Now these yogis were kinda probably not real yogis. I mean they could contort like a circus act but looking back they were probably high as kites and unbathed.
It was a lot of fun and an eye-opening experience. But I could never find my zen in that class and always ended up in the regular gym afterwards to get a good work out. (Or because I had a reverse reaction to their incense?)
One day I grew up and got married and had a kid. Wanting to lose the baby weight and decompress from the semi hell of being a new mom and adjusting to a new life I went back to my work outs (back then it was elliptical and stationary weight machines). But to find peace I took a yoga class at my local YMCA. The teacher didn’t seem like a yogi (and wasn’t but wasn’t puffing the cheeb either.) However, I did find peace in the class and enjoyed it.
Then I started running. My work out style is that of sweat and hard work. I like to push my limits. I let weight training and running take over all my work out time. I want to feel accomplished after a hard workout. A lot of us addicts are that way.
Yeah I said addict – addicted to workouts is a true issue. I always knew I would be addicted to something…
Last year happened. Thirty-five did a number on me – a gentle one but still a number. My stress and anxiety went to a new high. I feel like the fall of 2016 was the fall of death. My grandma died, our family dog (the last dog from my childhood) died, my aunt died, I think you get it…I started losing happiness. I would think – gee, Amanda, you’re thirty-five that’s nearly midlife. Yeah I’m all about those happy thoughts. My marriage was in a dark pit last fall too so that was the icing on the cake. Oh and then came the body break down. I was using the gym as my stress reliever *kudos* but I was going a little too hard. Achilles heel is real. Gemp knees are true. And a ruptured lower abdominal muscle is no joke. If I was an NFL player I would have been straight on IR.
Y’all know I got my faith. Before some of you say – She needs some Jesus. I need to tell you I got my Jesus so back on off. The cool thing about having your Jesus is how Jesus lets stuff come to you if you have even a drop of faith in your heart. *And if you are Jewish you can attest to this too just take out Jesus and let’s put in G-d or if you’re Muslim add in Mohammed and if you’re anything else you just slide in your Buddha, Confucius, or Earl from down the road in it.
So when I ask I get answers about what to do. Sorry to report it isn’t a thunderous boom but I slide in a certain direction unknowingly and then I have that Oprah tried and true AH HA moment. When I got to a point where I needed something – a release – it was a friend saying, “You gotta come do yoga with me.”
And so it re-started. I started again and it’s been just what the Good Doctor ordered. Let’s get a few things straight before you envision me doing strange pretzels with my body. I’m stiff, I’m tight, I’m old. I cannot do a split and I cannot effectively do a back bend without yelling out my last will and testament. But that’s the thing about yoga it isn’t about being perfect – it’s about listening to your whole self, making sure you breathe, making sure you show yourself love and support. Yoga is a practice not a work out. It is the practice of removing the bad one lion breath at a time and allowing the good to flow through yourself freely. The huge perk is it builds strength in your whole self. My muscles get a better work out now with my yoga than with my dumbbells.
This graphic is my favorite when it comes to explaining yoga:
You can do it. You aren’t athletic, ok that’s fine. You can do yoga because it isn’t athletic either. You can stretch it out and let it go and feel good. Then you can do the best part of the practice savasana….and just clear it all away.
I challenge you to try a little yoga today or tonight. I picked a super easy flow for you to try from Greatist. Study it a minute or two and then practice the poses in a flowing nature for a few rounds. Remember to breathe in and out – don’t hold that breath let it out, sister.
Love on yourself a little. Try something new (or ancient) today.