When I first started practicing yoga about 3 years ago, I had no idea where this “form of exercise” (as I once thought it to be) was going to lead me. At that point, I tried to make my yoga practice a once a week habit but all too often this habit was broken. The majority of my yoga practice took place right in my living room (or parents dance room), as I followed along on a DVD, stretching my body but never soothing my soul.
One of Dustin’s off-seasons, he even had me do a “Yoga for Baseball” DVD with him three days a week in order to increase his flexibility on the mound; boy, was he dedicated to that game. I can remember during those days, yoga was strictly for physical activity and had nothing to do with my mental well being. My how times have changed; however, let me also be honest with you…
Last summer, when I decided to get a job (with the help of a good friend, Bri <—- check her out) working as a yoga instructor, I made that decision based strictly on the need to build my resume doing something that I actually enjoyed doing. I could share my love for fitness through teaching others: it seemed like the perfect plan to me. I had no idea how much the simplistic practice of inhaling through my nose and exhaling back out through my nose could absolutely change my mind.
Yoga is different than any other “form of exercise” we can do: it is more of a form of self-care – calming our thoughts and bringing peace to our minds, while at the same time sculpting our bodies from the inside out.
Over the break, Dustin and I have been working out at Lifetime Fitness, a gym close by my parents house. My dad was able to hook us up with a free two week pass since he is a member there. A gym rat’s dream 😉
This gym is AMAZING – close to my heaven on earth. It has everything you could ever want in a gym: a healthy restaurant, a spa offering massages, hair cuts, ect., pretty much an indoor and outdoor water park, an incredible locker room, a day care service for all the moms and dads, every fitness class you could ever dream of, a spin studio with I would guess around 50 bikes, and much, much more. If I lived in this area still, even jobless, I would somehow make this gym membership possible. I’ve never seen anything like it and I’d say I’ve been in quite a few gyms.
When my dad was first trying to explain this place to us he said, “It’s like a resort. If only they had beds, you’d never have to leave!” True statement. This is the type place that makes you WANT to workout. I get excited about going to the gym. Call me crazy, but it’s true!
As I mentioned above, this gym offers several different group fitness classes weekly: to be exact they offered 18 different yoga classes this past week! Hot yoga, Hatha yoga I & II, Vinyasa yoga I & II, Athletic yoga, Yin yoga, Restorative yoga, Intro to Yoga, Yoga Sculpt, Yoga/Pilates Fusion, and Meditation just to mention a few. A yogis heaven.
Last week I took an Athletic yoga class, as well as the Hatha yoga class. Both were incredible. It was so nice to be in a place where others shared the same love that I did. I learned so much and can’t wait to take this back down to school with me.
If you have never taken a yoga class, I strongly encourage you to give it a try: if not a class, a DVD works too, as in my case when I first started. I understand that the thought of the unknown can be intimidating: walking into a studio where all the yogis seem so comfortable and well polished; however, in yoga we teach our students to listen to their own bodies, never pushing too far or beyond what is comfortable. We hope for a non-competitive, non-judgemental, and non-intimidating environment. Because of this you should never feel uncomfortable while practicing or even giving yoga a try. Giving back to yourself, even if it’s only for an hour a week, is truly honorable and one of the best things you can do for your health.
There are so many different forms of yoga, so I’ll break down the most common so that you can find the class that is best for you:
- Hatha: The most basic form of general yoga, usually slow, calm and gentle.
- Vinyasa: Breath-synchronized yoga; a little more difficult, including series of sun salutations.
- Ashtanga (Power): A more difficult form of yoga, flowing from one movement to the next.
- Bikram (Hot): Yoga performed in a heated room, consisting of 26 poses, repeating 2 times through.
I’ve been encouraging one of my friends to give yoga a try and a few days ago she tweeted me this exact message, “Yoga works miracles! For the first time in my life, I’m touching my toes. This is crazy!”
See! Coming from a girl that has never even practiced! You never know what it can do for you! I challenge you to give it a try. When you do – let me know your thoughts!
I hope you all have a wonderful Saturday! Good health!