Well, it's official...something has happened that I never dreamed possible. I've become a Yogi!!! Definition of Yogi: A practitioner of yoga. Of course, there's a long, drawn out official definition that I don't really understand but for me, I now practice and have become obsessed with yoga and I'm loving it!
For those who don't know my background, I was a group fitness instructor and personal trainer for over 20 years. I taught, step, body sculpting, pilates, spin, kickbox, clubbox, etc...just about any form of fitness class you can imagine, except yoga! I've tried yoga classes so many times and just couldn't wrap my head around it. I found it impossible to slowly transition to various stretching poses at such a slow pace and to such boring music (no offense to other yogis out there)! I need a class that gets my heart rate up, makes me sweat and leaves me exhausted when I'm done. That's how I've always felt I had a good, effective workout....maybe that's why my body is so broken!
I've been a runner, gone to a personal trainer and did 2-3 Orange Theory workouts a week for several years and my body and mind have taken a beating. About 6 weeks ago, my inflammation got so bad I gained weight and went up several clothing sizes for no reason and it won't go away. My chronic fatigue is at an all time high, my fibromyalgia is out of control, I have chronic kidney pain, non-stop bloating and I simply feel like I've hit a wall. Basically, my body and mental state have hit an all-time low and I knew I needed a change.
I sought out a yoga studio that had a variety of classes because I need tough classes for days that I'm feeling good and restorative classes for the days I'm "flaring" which seems to be all too often. I found a fantastic yoga studio and signed up for a free class. I chose a "Warm Flow Yoga" class and really had no clue what to expect.
I went to the class and walked into a small room (they have several rooms at this studio) and found about 10 other people setting up their mats. The room was warm, dimly lit and filled with yoga blocks, blankets, straps, bolsters and just about any yoga "tool" you can imagine. I set up my mat and in walked the instructor, Steven. Steven is probably in his mid-20's, has ripped muscles covered in tattoos, and reminds me of a young Eminem with hair. He quickly started the class with a few stretches, talked about focusing on our own mat, our own practice and keeping our thoughts within this room. Then he let it roll and he had the best music! It was a non-stop yoga practice full of both beginner and advanced moves, very little rest, lots of encouragement and a few epic fails when I couldn't nail some of the poses. After one hour, I was a completely drenched, out of breath, a hot mess and loved every minute of it! It was an extremely humbling class for me, very tough and totally left me wanting more.
I probably looked like an idiot and definitely fell out of a few poses but my body felt so alive during the class. My arms constantly suffer from fibromyalgia so the constant planks and downward dogs got to be a little much at times but I took breaks when I needed to and gave myself forgiveness for not being able to do what others could. I was successful at the balancing poses (I'm thankful to have a good core) and my legs were strong enough for the constant chair poses and high lunges. I'm learning to be grateful for whatever my body allows me to do.
I signed up for a monthly membership and have been going to various classes over the last few weeks. I find myself signing up for any class I can get with Steven because he teaches a tough class, is so encouraging, gives constant modifications, and reminds us to give self-love and mindfulness. I feel I learn something new from him every class. I have enjoyed being the student after so many years of teaching. I continue to be humbled in my classes when I can't do something but also feel an incredible sense of accomplishment when I conquer a new pose...I did Crow today for a few seconds!!! I have learned to celebrate small accomplishments.
I am definitely hooked on my yoga classes and am still going to my personal trainer, 2x/week. I have always been a cardio junkie but have decided to refrain from cardio for a few weeks to give my body a break. I'm going for walks in the beautiful sunshine we have been blessed with, spend time in my garden, and try to simply rest as often as I can. I'm trying to learn to love my body for all of its imperfections and weaknesses and give my mind a break from the stress of trying to be perfect in all facets of life. I'm learning self-love, self-care and to just ease up. I have to be honest...slowing down feels really good and I can only hope my body will respond to the TLC it's receiving!
If anyone in the Northwest Houston area wants to join me for a class, let me know!
In the meantime...Namaste!!!