In my mid-20’s I went on a massive fitness binge after breaking up with “the love of my life”. I was willing to try anything that kept my body moving: spinning, kickboxing, running, hour long elliptical sessions. I got into the best shape I’d been in since high school, when I danced for hours every day, and eventually got over the guy. In a quest to continue to push myself to try new things, my friend and I decided to try yoga.
The room smelled like I imagine Woodstock must have, and there were a lot of unshaven armpits on ladies, the image below is how that class is burned into my memory. I’m being completely serious when I say I left that class thinking there was no way I would ever enjoy yoga. It was slow, I was already flexible, and I could imagine it was adding to my overall fitness level.
Photo from weheartit.com
Fast forward half a decade: I had done 2 half-marathons, both ending with very sore hips and knees from tight IT bands throughout training. A friend suggested I start doing up yoga for athletes at the gym. It was also horrible! Just this time instead of smelling bad, it was just slow and painful. Over the course of that year I got really into Bikram, but 90 minute classes didn’t work with my 80 hour workweeks, and began to understand the concept of practicing on my own. Since then I’ve gone to classes sporadically, and have been more regular with my own practice.
I have found that 30 minutes in my living room is doable no matter how busy I am at work, or even if I’m traveling. It helps keep my legs loose to run, and is teaching me to clear my mind, allowing me to work through the dozen or so things challenging me a day. I am learning to love yoga, even miss it if I don’t do it.
For March, I decided to do my own March Makeover challenge and do yoga every day of the month. I placed no other rules around it. Fifteen minutes of runners yoga after a long run counts the same as if I do power yoga for an hour to work up a sweat. It is March 9th, and my body is tired, but getting stronger. I think back to the days when I questioned how yoga helped my fitness and laugh. There is nothing easy about yoga unless you don’t understand it, and then, yeah, it’s just some stretching.
Image from brendayoga.tumblr.com