I started practicing yoga approximately 6 months ago. And, the six months prior to starting, I thought about doing yoga but was on the fence. I just wasn’t sure it would be my thing. But, I needed some relaxation as well as exercise and decided to give it a try.
A morning in early November, 2011 was that day. It was probably one of the most enlightening days of my life. A life-changing day. I went to my first yoga class and fell in love. I started out slow and did a few basic classes. Then, I decided to take it up a notch and start doing a Vinyasa Flow class. I had a little bit of a background with Pilates and felt like I could handle a higher level class. This was exactly what I needed. The Vinyasa flow class with roots to Ashtanga yoga, was faster paced and really made me sweat!
I had never imagined that yoga could do so much for me. Not only does it provide the relaxation and stress relief I was seeking. But, it also is a killer workout that builds strength, flexibility and balance. I never imagined that practicing yoga would provide such a well-rounded workout.
In the six months since I started practicing, I have noticed huge changes in my body and my ability to focus. I feel like I have regained strength and flexibility that I was losing. Plus, my balancing poses are getting better with each and every practice.
With practicing in 90 minutes classes, 3-4 times a week, I seem to have begun to feel really good about most of my standing poses. I feel I have good form in how I perform them. I am even starting to take it “deeper” and wrap my arms when I am able to. This is something I could not manage at all when I first started. I can’t say I feel as good about my inversions, however. They terrify me!
With the help of one of my fantastic teachers, I was able to get my feet off the ground and do a headstand. She gave me the confidence to try it by setting me up in a corner using one block against each corner. I clasped my hands together and placed them on the floor pressing each arm against a block into the corner. This was my support. I then was able to get myself up into a headstand. And, I gained enough confidence eventually to leave the blocks behind and do a supported headstand against the wall without even the support of being in the corner. Four months later, I am still against the wall. I am not able to catch my balance just yet in order to feel comfortable enough to take my headstand to the middle of the room. But, I am practicing!
Handstands and forearm balances are also a problem for me. While my same fantastic teacher showed me an “easy” way of getting into my forearm balance by starting in a headstand and then setting up my arms for forearm balance and lifting my head off the floor, I am not able to maintain this balance for very long and am unable to kick up into it. I feel like it will be a long road before I am able to do any inversion well. But I will keep you posted.
All of this brings me back to the reason why I am loving my yoga practice so much. It challenges me every day and never gets boring. I have never felt this way about any other workout I have ever tried. When a couple days go by without yoga, I start to get antsy and feel the need to get a class in. Each and every class brings new challenges, new victories and lots of sweat!