“What were you doing in there!? Yoga? You look like someone who does that.” I had just returned from a bathroom break during an exhausting 3 hour meeting. As I was finding my seat at the conference table of about dozen people I looked at her and laughed. “No!”, I said. Yoga?, I thought. Do I look like someone that does yoga??? Okay, so I was taking my time stretching in the bathroom. But after months committed to my spin class the last thing I wanted to be taken for was a “someone who does yoga.” From my understanding doing yoga just meant you leisurely perform girly stretches surrounded by incense and zen-like flowers.
By age 25 I had accepted spin classes and dancing to Tracy Anderson dvd’s for my life’s fitness regimen. Every morning I’d wake up before the crack of dawn to plunge through an hour of jumping, spinning and some serious sweating. Really, she thinks I do yoga. Ironically I had recently noticed how tight my body was. Not like an “ooo I look good”-tight, more like “I can’t move my legs!” kind of tight. It was beginning to feel ridiculous - the constant jumping, spinning, sweating. Daily I was building tension upon tension. The kind that feel likes it’s going to pop at any moment. But rarely would I let a pulled hamstring get in the way of my workouts. I just kept spinning and jumping, spinning and jumping. Then one weekend I came across some free yoga online; Tara Stiles You Tube videos ( www.tarastiles.com). So I figured I’d give it a whirl. I wasn’t expecting to be standing on my head or doing splits but knew I could use a stretch. Little did I know yoga is oh, so much more than stretching.
Yoga is indescribable. At first it felt like an ego buster. You see these crazy movements and realize you have all those same muscles and ligaments. Shouldn't we all be able to do these insane poses too? But it’s more than just flexibility. Yoga redefines conditioning the body. Through long deep breaths, fluid and slow-paced movements (well slower than spinning) my body was thanking me... and sweating. Practicing countless downward dogs, splits, tree poses and even falling on my head a few times, ok several times, more has changed than just my view of fitness. Fitness has never felt so intentional, relaxing, and yet so challenging. In a world that is greatly concerned with living holistic lives, it’s rare to see physical fitness approached with the same holistic intentions. We move through our days full of anxiety, worries, and expectations that just add more tension. Yoga is like the perfect drug. Consider it a holistic drug. One I’d like to subscribe to each and everyone of you.
Now every day I do yoga. And every day it looks different. Maybe it's to find flexibility, strength or simply rid myself from anxiety and stress. Yoga frees me up to meet my body where it’s at. Believe it or not, I can finally stand on my head too. And I’m learning to do some other crazy stuff. So now, I gladly except that I look like a yoga person. Little did I know, my co-worker had given me a compliment.