On Starting a Yoga Practice

I “did” yoga on and off for several years before I finally learned how to practice yoga.  Previously, yoga never clicked for me the way it did this year.  I took a few yoga classes at the gym, but it was always difficult for me to let my mind turn off. I would get startled every time the men working out next door would slam the weights on the ground  Kind of hard to get your namaste on.  So I would quit.  Then, the next year, I’d do the whole cycle over again.

There was a yogi in me somewhere, I knew it, but I wasn’t able to channel her.  I always like the idea of yoga, and the meditative, quiet state of mind it produces, but I never really got it.  I would sit in Sukhasana, trying to let my mind quiet then, SLAM (men dropping weights outside).  Or then I would start to think about what I wanted to make for dinner.  Never did my mind quiet.  I was never able to understand what yoga was about.

Suddenly this year, something changed.  Maybe it’s due to the fact that I’m now older, wiser, and at a different point in my life then I was in my early 20’s.  In my later 20’s I grew, and became a strong, hard-working woman.  And lately, yoga found its way back into my life again. This time though, in an entirely different way then it ever had before.

I knew how I wanted to start: No more gym yoga.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with doing yoga at the gym.  Any type of yoga, in my opinion, is a wonderful addition to anyone’s life.  But I wanted to get something different from my yoga practice this time.  I wanted to get that mind quieting, meditative, blissed out, hand stand, fully balanced, this is what yoga is all about-experience.  So, I joined a yoga studio.  Once I didn’t have slamming weights in the back ground, it was much easier for me to quiet my mind.  The studio incorporates things like essential oils, acupuncture, practicing restorative poses, things I couldn’t get at my gym.

Something finally clicked, and I understood what yoga was all about.  All of a sudden, I became slightly obsessed. I was reading about it, thinking about it, and practicing it constantly.  The more time went on and I consistently continued to practice, I noticed my quality of life change.  I was significantly less stressed and anxious.  One of the biggest gifts, was that I finally learned how to quiet my mind and not think about anything while I practice.  Being fully aware and in the moment when I practice has allowed me to understand people’s yoga obsession.

I knew that my next problem was consistency.  I had a tendency of starting yoga, and then not following through.  Having a busy life and a full-time job sometimes makes getting to the studio a bit difficult.  So, I downloaded an app.  This has got to be my second most used app.  It allows me to do yoga on my own time, for as long as I want.  I can also decide what “type” of yoga I want to practice (relaxing, strengthening, etc).  Extra bonus points for setting an ambiance at home, light a couple of candles, and turn on your own custom yoga playlist.  Home practice mixed with the studio has been the best combination for me.

I still have a way to go before I can perfect a handstand, but as my yoga teacher said last class, “I am exactly where I am supposed to be, no more, no less.”  Given the amount of time I have been consistently practicing so far, I am exactly where I should be.  My journey with yoga has only just begun, and I can’t wait to see where it will take me.

I encourage you to try yoga for yourself.  Your mind, body, and heart will thank you!

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