Hello yogis! If you were to tell me a year ago that I would be writing this blog I would have never believed you. Hell, if you were to tell me 6 months ago that I would be voluntarily waking up at 6am twice a week to get to class I would have told you that you were insane. Yet, here we are…waking up at 6am and writing this blog. It’s taken me longer than it should have to get the inspiration and find the courage to actually start writing. I’m typically a very outgoing and outspoken person, that is until I have to put it on paper and am able to read my own thoughts. Yoga has definitely pushed me in the best direction possible outside of my comfort zone and allows me to be able to share the story of my practice with all of you wonderful humans.
All of my life growing up and into adulthood has been very fast paced and a go, go, go mentality. I was an all year round athlete growing up and into my early adulthood, which led me to constantly pushing my body to limits that probably weren’t always healthy. When I had finally stopped playing organized sports I spent most of my days, well mainly nights, working in the restaurant industry. My body must just be glutton for punishment at this point because I can tell you that years and years of sports and bartending do not do the body much good. I have some of the worst knees you could possibly imagine and my back isn’t in a much better state. For a large portion of my 20s my body didn’t know what more than 5 hours of sleep even felt like. But, at some point in my life I realized that I do have the ability to change how I feel, mentally and physically. That’s where yoga came into play, or at least that’s what I thought…
I remember my first yoga class; I remember it all too well.
My first class was just your run of the mill Vinyasa class, or that’s at least what I thought. I knew nothing about yoga at the time, and quite honestly I didn’t care to know very much. But what I did know was that one of my good friends/coworker at the time wanted me to try this with her and promised it would make me feel much better. So there I was, sitting in the car headed out to Kent to try my first yoga class. No expectations on what was about to happen and no idea on what a single yoga pose was. I remember sitting there before class just staring at my friend and trying to figure out what the hell she just roped me into doing. Then the class started. It was hot; oh my god was it hot. My brain was all over the place, it was too hard and I’m not sure if I made this part clear but my god was it hot. I tried to do every pose that the teacher cued and in my mind I would have been damned if I wasn’t going to try it and nail it. That was the mindset I had the entire class, I was an athlete my entire life I’m not going to back down from any challenges. What a serious mistake. 60 of the longest minutes of my life had finally passed and I wasn’t sure how I made it out alive. That night I made a promise to myself that I would not be trying yoga ever again.
Fast-forward 4 years...
I find myself in a weird rut in my life, I took a step down from a position that I had been doing for years and on top of that decided to start a second job. I want to try something different that will make my body feel good for once. Remember that formerly mentioned good friend/coworker? Well now she’s no longer a coworker but is one of my best friends, I sent her a text. I told her I was ready to try yoga again and I felt there was no other place to start then at the studio her and her girlfriend/future wife owned. If you have yet to figure out by now that Kate was that friend that roped me into my first, very hot, yoga class then now you know. (She’ll probably read this and disagree with me on the hotness of the class, but she knows I’m dramatic.) Going to my first class at YS was terrifying for me, I had no idea what I was supposed to bring or even what to wear! I drove to class in a snow storm, nervous as ever, and just hoping that my experience would be better than the last. Nikki taught class that morning and I practiced right along side one of my best friends. It was so different this time and I could feel it, not only in my body but also in my soul. My heart felt so happy after class and from there on out I was hooked!! All of a sudden I started practicing six times a week and my mindset began to shift. I went from such a negative and judgmental attitude to feeling more empathetic towards others than I ever have in my entire life. I finally started to realize that where I’m at in life is exactly where I need to be. It’s amazing how good the body feels when you stop trying to fight what you need and just start to finally listen to your inner voice instead of criticizing yourself every day.
Having a consistent yoga practice for the last year and a half has changed my life in all ways for the better. I have met and became close friends with some of the most amazing people, people that have such full hearts and open minds. I’ve gone from being terrified to walk into a studio where I actually knew people to now going on vacation and searching for new studios to try when I’m out of town. I’ve finally learned that sometimes slowing things down and listening to your body is the right thing to do. (Aka: it’s okay to go to a restorative class and practice something that’s not just Hot Power) And I can honestly say that my body has never felt better in my life! Yet, most importantly I have learned how to love myself for who I am and what I am at that point in time is enough. I find myself saying the same mantra from one of my first classes to saying it in my every day life now…“I AM ENOUGH”. I’ve finally learned how to talk to myself the same way that I talk to others, with compassion and only good intent, because I am enough and I deserve it. We all deserve that in our lives, we deserve to make ourselves happy and to be kind to ourselves, we only have this one life to live why choose to make it harder?
I could go on forever about how much I love this practice and all of the joy and wonderful people that Kate, Nikki, and YS have brought into my life but that’s for another time. Until next time yogis, just remember to love yourself and that you are exactly where you need to be. You are enough.