I took my first yoga class in 1996. It was a class offered at the university I attended and I decided to throw it into my schedule for one more credit hour. I took the class with a couple friends. Our teacher was very much like those typical yoga teacher stereotypes you see in the media, she seemed to float throughout the room and said wacko things like “Let the lotus flower on top of your head reach toward the sky.” and “Your mind is relaxing, dropping into a deep, blue pool as you rest in savasana.” My friends thought she was a quack and snickered throughout class… and while I agreed that those statements were kind of goofy, secretly I liked the hippy-dippy side of it too. And I left every yoga class feeling a little taller and about a thousand pounds lighter. It’s as if I could just drop off my emotional baggage after a solid class.
I continued to take the class at different times throughout college, then upon graduation I moved into my very own apartment. I worked in television at the time and had bizarre hours that didn’t coincide with anyone else’s hours, thus I found myself on my own a lot. One day my grandma called and asked if I wanted to go to a yoga class with her at her gym. I agreed and aside from the hilarity that ensued as my grandmother attempted to twist herself into yoga poses (I think she was facing an opposite direction from everyone else at every minute of the class) I was reminded of the good feelings yoga provided me.
It was about that time that my boyfriend (now husband) decided that I needed cable TV in my apartment (the first time I ever had cable!) and he had it set up. While flipping through and marveling at how many channels I now had I stumbled upon a show on the Oxygen network called ‘Inhale’, a yoga class taught by a man named Steve Ross who likes to wear Hammer pants while he teaches. The show was kind of weird and I was often left hanging in downward-facing dog during commercial breaks, but it reinvigorated my life at that time. Just incorporating that little bit of yoga each day made my strange work schedule feel more manageable.
Then I moved for a new job, got married and took about a year off from yoga. I decided to pick up a yoga DVD at the store and started doing that at home. It was a pretty intense power yoga disc and it often left me queasy by the end when I started. I couldn’t do some of the poses but again it gave me such a sense of accomplishment when I could manage to get into and hold the poses after weeks (or months) of practice.
Yoga was one of the few things that helped me keep a tiny fraction of sanity when I moved to Las Vegas (before I started to run seriously). It was on my agenda every week, multiple times. I just practiced at home though, never venturing out to a studio.
The past two months I have not done yoga regularly. And I can tell… my hips feel a lot tighter from running. And all the stress, and worry, and anxiety, and sadness I ever experience are all weighted firmly on my back and I’m lugging that around with me day in, day out. I rolled out my mat last week and decided to get back into the swing of things with yoga. And boy, did my upper body and core hurt after that! But it was a good hurt, the kind that comes from a satisfying workout.
Did you know that the month of September is yoga month? I heard rumor of that, looked it up and discovered a whole website devoted to the celebration.
September is official National Yoga Month. Cards worth ONE WEEK FREE YOGA and FREE YOGA CLASSES are available to all who visit www.yogamonth.org. Get off the couch and onto the yoga mat in the name of better health.
Thus I’m using September to reinvigorate my practice and to hopefully get all of you to incorporate some yoga into your lives. Here’s my challenge to you:
- If you’ve tried yoga and aren’t practicing it regularly, try to incorporate it into your schedule more often this month. Whether it is 5 minutes a day or a weekly routine, just try to do something regularly this month.
- If you’ve tried yoga in the past and hated it, try a different class and give it another chance.
- If you’ve never tried yoga, find a class and give it a chance!
Just because there is a graphic and link to the Yoga Month site, doesn’t mean they are sponsoring this in any way. I found the site on my own and am sharing it of my own volition. I love yoga and want everyone to know how good it can make you feel, especially for those who run or walk regularly. It’s such a complementary exercise!