Breath in, breath out, downward dog.
I actually used to dislike yoga to some extent. I thought yoga was for blonde beach hipster girls.I understood it was an agonizingly slow process when it came down to poses learning to breath and calm the mind. Calming the mind – one of my worst enemies. I steered clear of any yoga classes for as long as I can remember when it came hurtling back at me when I started my path of trying to get healthy. I was beyond reluctant to try, but eventually gave in when my boyfriend insisted I gave it a chance.
Yes, the slowing down of the mind and the breathing technique is hard, but I found that yoga was more difficult than I had anticipated. It used more strength than I had originally thought it would. It never occurred to me that there were intense use of core strength (that I didn’t have at the moment). I struggled and that excited me. I loved a good challenge and I wholeheartedly accepted this task hoping to excel and break barriers.
Surprisingly, I found yoga to be a great source of stress relief and it’s a great counterpart to those that weight lift. More people who weight lift need to get in on this. Yoga and weight lifting is like the perfect marriage of the working out world. Most people (guys) just don’t see it because they find yoga to be such a feminine activity and while I agree of the of the yoga world female dominant. Although when I attended this year’s yoga expo I was thrilled to see more males attending than I had expected.
Weight lifting as I have often liked describing as working out the outer muscles and strengths of your body while yoga helps with your core and inner strength/muscles so that your body gets the full workout and you find a balance of being able to build strong muscles all around. Not to mention yoga helps with finding inner peace and helps with finding a serene mind that’s not cluttered with your day’s worth of stress. (Although this last point is still one of my weakest points and I’m working on it).
Thankfully I’ve always injected myself in activities that has kept my body limber (dance/color guard) in middle school and high school, but once I went off to college there wasn’t much physical exercise except the occasional run up and down the stairs when I’m late for class. But muscle memory had helped when I started taking yoga although I wasn’t close as being flexible nor as strong as my yoga instructor (Irina). That eventually became my goal: to become equally flexible and strong as her. She does INCREDIBLE things with her body.
I wished more people could see how great yoga can be as now I can do things that I never thought I could achieve (headstands and arm balances). It’s definitely changed my perception of what yogis are. I’m thoroughly impressed with those that had stuck with it for years. I feel my body becoming stronger and overcoming so many obstacles. It has helped tremendously with my muscle soreness from weight lifting and back.