I went to a yoga class during lunch today, which is one of my favorite things to do lately because it really resets the workday and puts me in a wonderful calm mindset. After I finished, rolling up my mat and changing back into work clothes, I realized that it was the 3rd time I’ve done yoga this week. Wow. That’s a lot of yoga! It’s crazy because when I first tried yoga, many years ago, I didn’t like it.
Back in the day, I used to think that if a workout wasn’t heart pounding and sweaty, it was a waste of time. I thought yoga was weird and I’m not flexible, so I just assumed it wasn’t for me. When I finally tried a class, I had the hardest time slowing down and being present. Anytime I was in a pose for longer than a few seconds I was itching to keep moving. Even once I found yoga classes I enjoyed, mostly faster paced flow classes, I used to leave right at the end of class before savasana, or corpse pose, where you lie on your mat, rest, and give yourself time to reflect on your practice.
It’s funny because savasana is technically the easiest yoga pose – you are literally just lying there – but I initially found it by far the hardest, and I bet I’m probably not alone. Forcing myself to slow down and be still was HARD. My mind was always immediately back to my to do list. I didn’t have time to just lie here, dammit, I had stuff to do! Basically, I didn’t get it.
Man, how times have changed. Savasana is now my favorite part of a yoga class, and I always look forward to the time to be calm and still before getting back to the rush of normal life. I still love fast paced flow classes, but I’ve learned that embracing more restorative classes and poses is just as important. I’ve even challenged myself lately to take child’s pose instead of that extra flow, or to take the easier pose option on days I feel my body would be better served by being calm.
Just like how running has taught me that I am stronger than I think, yoga has taught me to be kind to myself. To slow down. To embrace the little things. That simply breathing in and out deeply can be amazingly calming when you are stressed out and need a break.
Yoga makes me feel more present not just during the actual practice, but also in my everyday life. I now view yoga as an opportunity; a time to stop thinking about all the crap I have to do afterwards and just enjoy focusing on strengthening my body, stretching my muscles, and quieting my mind.
Restorative, calming lunchtime yoga classes have become one of my favorite things to do lately, not because I’m squeezing in a workout in the middle of the day, but because of the way it leaves me feeling mentally. Relaxed, centered, present, and ready to carry on my day with a smile.
Why do you love yoga? Did it take you awhile to embrace it, too?