Guys… I drank the Kool Aid. I started taking yoga a little over two months ago. I’m currently taking yoga three times a week, and I’ve learned a lot since my first class. First of all, there really is a way to “tuck your tail bone.” It makes the positions both more comfortable and harder all at once. Second, my shoulder and back pain is probably because of my constant need to shrug. The amount of times a teacher has told me to relax my shoulders is uncanny. Third, and most importantly I know what “open your heart” means. Simply pull your shoulders down and back to expose your chest. One of these days, I’m going to make a weird phrases yoga dictionary. If one already exists, someone please let me know.
But in all seriousness, I’m actually head over heals in love with yoga. There’s a cult following for a reason. I used to roll my eyes a little when the teacher said “set a goal for your practice” at the beginning of each class. My goal was always, don’t fall over. At the end, I did a second eye roll as the teacher said “acknowledge yourself.” I then acknowledged that I’d only fallen twice. It took me several classes and some slightly different wording to truly understand. “Set a goal for your practice.” This still leaves me a little baffled, but last night my goal was “to focus on my breathing.” It was a simple goal for most. I have a deviated septum so breathing in and out of my nose is a challenge for me.
“Acknowledge yourself.” This needed to be rephrased to me. One teacher said “Take a moment to acknowledge what you accomplished today.” Cue eye rolls here. But, wait. Shouldn’t we do this everyday? We are so hard on ourselves, or at least I am. I constantly tell myself what I didn’t accomplish. I didn’t become a famous fashion designer. I couldn’t afford that expensive bathing suit I wanted. I burned dinner. The list goes on and on. But yesterday in yoga, I thought “Hey, I totally nailed that pose that I couldn’t even come close to doing last week. Go me.” That little acknowledgement made my day. I forgot about the times I fell or the poses I couldn’t complete. I was thrilled that I was able to make progress.
Recently, I’ve been feeling better about myself overall. I feel more confident because I’m working out again, but I think it goes deeper than that. I’ve taken my yoga practice and started translating it to every day life. There’s a big emphasis on not comparing yourself to the people around you. If you can’t do a pose, it’s okay. It’s not a race. Do the best you can and respect your body when it tells you to stop. Acknowledge the progress you made and be proud of yourself. Just following these insanely simple rules has made me happier in my day to day activities. Yoga has gone from a workout to a form of self empowerment, and I’m completely addicted. Now, when I enter the class I focus on myself. I’m working on self improvement not because I want to be better than my neighbor, but because I genuinely want to better myself.
I’ll keep you guys posted as I get deeper into the yoga culture, but I’d love to know what you guys get from it? Are you as addicted as I am?
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Michelle Della Giovanna
Writer at Full Time Explorer
I’m just your average New Yorker who quit her job in the fashion industry to explore the world. Come find out what it’s like to trade in five-inch heels for squat toilets.