Explain any initial skepticism with yoga.
A friend of mine had been doing yoga for years and I wasn’t quite sure what she got out of it. To me it didn’t really seem like much of a work out and I didn’t think about the other benefits one would get from the experience. I just thought yoga was for the “earthy,” more “laid back” types, which I was not. Boy was I wrong! It’s a great work out for mind and body!
What was your first yoga class like?
I fell in love with it! Where had yoga been all my life? The first class was tough, not in the learning of the poses, but in having to push my body and settle my mind in a different way. Even though I had been “working out” in the gym I felt weak. I knew I had a long way to go but enjoyed the class so much that I knew it had to become part of my weekly routine. I knew that if I persevered I’d become more flexible and stronger.
What benefits (be they physical, mental, spiritual, or a combination of all 3) have you experienced in practicing yoga?
The biggest benefits have been in being able to tune into my body more. If I feel an ache or have soreness I know what stretch or pose I can do to alleviate the pain. Also, learning how to breathe properly relieves so much stress and quiets the mind. It helps you really get into a pose on a deeper level and using the breathing techniques help in and outside the classroom, like when you’re in heavy traffic!
What advice would you give to others who are skeptical about yoga?
Just try it and don’t be intimidated. Also, don’t give up after a few classes because you’re not as flexible as the person next to you or you can’t hold some challenging pose. Who cares??? As Steven says, “It’s your practice.” You do what you can and what feels good to you. If you need a few props or a folded towel because you have a bad knee so be it. There’s no judging in yoga!
What has been the biggest lesson that yoga has taught you thus far?
The biggest lesson has probably been to just be open to new experiences. Yoga has surprised me in just how good it is for the mind and body…it is very therapeutic in more ways than one!