Today is International Yoga Day! Whether you practice daily or dabble like I do, it has become something that I truly stand by. Why? It makes my body feel good.
When I attended my first yoga class, I was intimidated, scared, and had a lot of misconceptions. My misconceptions were created because of my lack of knowledge in the practice as well as what I gathered from various television shows and movies. I just saw these extremely thin and flexible women and thought “I do not belong in this world”.
However, I joined at first a couple of reasons, my friends asked me because they were interested and didn’t want to do it alone, and to improve my mobility.
Going into the classes with a friend was helpful and reassuring, it gave me a little more confidence and allowed me to open up. I had fun, a lot of fun, after our first few classes we would joke about how much we had to fart. YUP, fart. I twisted, and moved, and relaxed that my body just wanted to relieve itself.
Another reason why I started the practice was to improve my mobility. I lift weights. I’m not a power weightlifter, but I do focus on strength training a few times a week. Despite the stretching and the warm ups, I am still a bit stiff for the next few days. Yoga, a few times a week allows me to stretch for longer periods of time and improve my mobility.
Then after I joined for my two specific reasons I started to enjoy the other benefits. I continued the practice for several reasons. I continued the practice for my body, mind, and soul. I got to clear my mind, I was able to relax, and find a relief for stress. I got to focus on myself. I got to fight mild depression. I got to listen to my body’s needs. I got to push my boundaries.
I also get to connect with a wide range of individuals. AND the previous misconceptions about those who practice yoga were destroyed. Some are vegetarian or vegan, some are not, some are thin, some are not, young and old, there are all types of people who come together to engage in a practice that helps individuals connect. It’s not a religion, it’s a spiritual practice.
To improve your practice, I suggest a few things, make sure to introduce yourself to each instructor at the studio. This can give you a chance to talk with the instructor, talk about your skill level, what you want to accomplish, and if you mind hands-on correction. I also LOVE to read. LOVE LOVE LOVE to read. I am hands on but I also like to understand the pose, with the hands-on correction I can then feel how the pose is suppose to feel.
And if you don’t practice or dabble, go out there and try out a yoga studio. Do a few drop-in classes. Find one that fits you. And enjoy the practice. It’s International Yoga Day! Just do it!