I have always been a big believer in cross training. The times when running dominates my workouts are not usually my happiest times. I like variety. My body feels better, stronger, healthier when I mix up my workouts. With that said, I’ve never been a huge fan of yoga. I liked pilates quite a bit but yoga? That was not for my inflexible body. Yoga was not for my skeptical, always thinking of what’s next mind. Yoga wasn’t for me.
Last fall/winter I tried a hot vinyasa yoga class. I was surprised by how much I loved it. The class was a workout – a serious workout. I left it shaking and sweating having pushed myself in new ways for 90 minutes. It was great. It was also expensive and a good 20 minute drive away – two ingredients that don’t fit in my lifestyle right now. So in the winter I decided to try a hatha yoga class that was just two minutes from home and half the price. It wasn’t the yoga workout I had come to love but I was willing to give it a try.
I walked in and at the very first class told the instructor that I was dubious of the benefits of hatha yoga for me. Hatha is the branch of yoga which concentrates on physical health and mental well-being. Hatha yoga uses bodily postures, breathing techniques, and meditation with the goal of bringing about a sound, healthy body and a clear, peaceful mind. Hatha yoga postures also stretch and align the body, promoting balance and flexibility. That last part was the only part that got me to the class. I was not convinced that I could slow down enough to enjoy the class – and meditation?? Forget it.
And now I’m here to tell you that yoga saved my body this summer. I’m convinced that I could not have thrived on that exhausting training schedule if I didn’t have yoga to center my body and mind. I’ve gone from craving the hard workout of that hot yoga class to yearning for the slow, long stretching of hatha yoga. And yes, I’ve even been able to meditate.
I was so skeptical that I feel I owe it to yoga to apologize. This class has made me stronger in many areas and helped me go after some big physical challenges. Tonight will be my first class in more than two weeks and over the past 10 days I’ve felt twinges, tightness and discomfort in many parts of my body. I know it’s because I haven’t practiced yoga in a while. It makes that big of a difference for me.
As I look to my future, a future where I know exercise will always play an important role, I know that yoga will remain a part of my life so that I can continue to be as active as I want to be. It’s ironic that slowing down has enabled me to be more active. Lesson learned.