It has been 30 days since I began practicing yoga. I started the journey because for the first time in my life I wanted something to help my soul, not my body. Granted, if the body part is also improved, all the better. I have always started one form of exercise because I was unhappy with my physical appearance for one reason or the other, so I jumped around TRX, running, circuit exercises and many other forms of self-improvement workouts to try and change the physical. What I didn’t realize in my journey to self-help, was that the starting point has to be from within, in order to expand to the exterior.
I was looking for something I could do to quiet that inner voice and chaos in my head, to decompress from my busy daily life that is filled with many thoughts, not all of them kind. Yoga was what I found to work on finding inner peace (as cliché as that sounds. It’s much more than meditating at the end of each class in Shavasana (also known as corpse pose), the entire practice, moving from one pose to the other while breathing deeply and moving more and more into stretches, that helped me relax.
Focusing on my breathing, flowing through the poses, from the sun salutations to variations of each pose, breathing into each and every stretch to get slightly farther in, all of this distracted me from everything else outside of the yoga studio; that alone was so valuable to me that it had me coming back again and again. Another reason I kept coming back was because I could see, from class to class, that I was improving. My legs are stronger, my back straighter, every single pose is getting more and more controlled by my strengthening body; seeing that kind of progress was new to me, I had always wanted to see progress at the gym but never got to (I’m also pretty impatient, I’ll admit).
There are poses like Bakasana (crow pose), and Salamba Sirsasana (headstand) that I have always wanted to do but wasn’t strong enough to do; I am happy to report that I was able to hold crow for a full 3 seconds the other day – that may not sound like much to you, but it is mind blowing to me, when two weeks ago I couldn’t even get my body to the position of even starting to go into crow. Headstands are still some ways away from me, but strengthening my core and body as a whole will send me there before I know it.
Finding a class that speaks to you, a teacher that is supportive and attentive, are crucial elements to improving your yoga practice. I have a teacher that stands next to me when I do any pose that involves going on my hands alone, since she knows I fear falling forward. She is also there to encourage me to try my hand at a deeper part of a pose, and makes sure I am doing everything right so as not to hurt myself.
It has only been 30 days and I feel like yoga has changed me both mentally and physically, I can only imagine where it will take me, all forms of me, as I continue to practice and expand my skill set and mental capacity.