I have recently started getting into yoga and I am falling in love with it. I used think yoga was easy- all about breathing and stretching, and not a workout at all. I was used to running, lifting weights and more cardio types of workouts. How could yoga get my heat rate that high? I couldn't have been more wrong, and I am so happy I gave it a chance.
I was introduced to power yoga a little more than a year ago at Santa Monica Power Yoga. It was so much different from what I thought yoga was about. I was surprised by all the sweat and the soreness the next day. Still, I went to the harder teachers, the ones that made you sweat, sweat, sweat. I was in it for the physical workout, and didn't understand the mental peace that comes with yoga, which I only discovered recently. When I moved to Austin, I wanted to find a yoga studio. This involved me trying out a few studios and as a result, I have learned about the peace and gratitude that comes with practice. (I have loved Breath and Body Yoga, Core Power, and Black Swan)
I was inspired after this morning's class to write for one message: challenge yourself. Through yoga, I have challenged myself physically and mentally. Through my other workouts, I never found satisfaction in, "Oh I can lift X more pounds" or, "Oh, I can run X more miles". However, I have experienced extreme satisfaction from hitting new yoga poses and balances. I learned that yoga isn't about flexibility, but also about strength and technique.
Bakasana... crow pose. I still remember my first class where I saw this. It was a class with Jerome at SMPY and I gave him the most 'what the **** face" of my life. Then I looked around, and people were doing it!! All I could think was, "what is wrong with these people??" I gave a small attempt and I realized after a millisecond that I was about to fall on my face. So I reverted to down-ward dog.
I went home and continued to practice bakasana. After a few days, I was able to give a small kick, but came down a second after. After a week or so, I could feel my body getting stronger and those muscles I needed for bakasana were developing. Soon enough, I held it. Now, crow comes to me smoothly and I think back on the day where I thought crow people were circus people.
I was inspired because just today, I hit koundinyasana, which is another pose I gave the "what the **** face" to.
Practice makes perfect. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I've heard that since I was two years old. It wasn't until yoga that I could attest to that statement.
You attempt a pose for the first time. You fall on your face. You realize those muscles don't exist. You try again. Fall on your face. Try again, and again and again and again. You fall and fall, maybe hold for a second... fall. Then you feel a little stronger. You try again and again and again. You hold. You balance.
I'll tell ya, it's a frustrating process, falling your face!
Yoga has taught me how strong your body is and how strong it can become. It has taught me to challenge myself so that I can feel stronger not only physically, but mentally. After a class my body feels revived, but exhausted, and my mind is clear and at peace. Staying focused and present is still a challenge for me, and it probably always will be. I have found that during my time on the mat I am working for that focus and it gives me a sense of clarity.
Every class I strive to leave all my thoughts about work, life, and tomorrow, outside the studio. I am on the mat, and I am present. Yoga has improved my balance, strength and flexibility, but more importantly, it has given me inspiration, gratitude, and a belief in mind over matter.
For the full post visit: Yoga Inspired