**Feeling inspired to start a new routine? We are! Hence this re-post from our blog on loving yoga. Enjoy!
I always considered myself “too hyper” for yoga. Doing cardio and strength training while listening to the newest remixes of Lady Gaga was my routine. Yoga, I thought, was definitely not for me. The chill music, the dark room, everyone knowing how to stand on their head – it stressed me out just thinking about it! And besides, I didn’t want anybody looking at my un-pedicured feet. Those rare times that I actually considered it, I always talked myself out of it (didn’t take much), and joined a high energy spin class instead.
Between work, a break-up, and my never ending list of worries, I knew I had to do something to de-stress. I looked up some yoga breathing exercises online. I even put a 3X5 note card with the word “BREATHE” in my purse. It came as a friendly reminder at the airport when traveling on Thanksgiving Day.
I started doing yoga breathing exercises in line at the busy Starbucks, on the delayed commuter train, and at bedtime after a stressful day. I finally understood what it meant to “chill.” Before I knew it, I was feeling more relaxed and happier than I had ever been.
There was definitely something special to yoga and I wanted more.
Then, I tried it. It wasn’t really on purpose, but I tried it.
The strength training class I had planned to take was cancelled and a friend encouraged me to take a Vinyasa Yoga class with him since I had already planned to take an hour class. He promised me I wouldn’t have to stand on my head.
The room was peaceful and the music calming. Before the class began, the teacher explained that yoga is a journey. She told us not to compare ourselves to others or even to compare ourselves to ourselves. I found that advice helpful and still think of it often. When she asked if anyone was new, I was too embarrassed to raise my hand, but three other people humbly did. (Sidenote– almost every class I’ve taken or taught since that day, has had at least one new person). The poses were tough and I broke a sweat, and while some people closed their eyes and saw their peaceful place as a field full of daisies or a gentle waterfall, I saw an uncrowded Starbucks with free scone samples.
At the end of the class I felt refreshed and amazing. I wanted more! I continued going a few times a week, and before I knew it, I considered myself a “yogi’ – something I never would have imagined years before.
Since that day I have not stopped doing yoga, in fact, I am now a yoga teacher. Like my first teacher said, yoga is an individual journey. It is relatable and offers the inner harmony and body awareness necessary to achieve a healthier approach to life. Doing yoga 2-3 times a week can aid in weight loss, relieve stress, and has also been proved to help lower blood pressure and alleviate some medical problems. And, of course, it also helps even the most stressed out Starbucks fanatic chill out.
Amanda Caswell is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer specializing in fitness and nutrition for children and adults, sports performance, and weight loss programs. Amanda has run 22 marathons and is currently training for a triathlon.