I think I have had that introduction with yoga many times. And every time, I realize how much I missed yoga. Why would I ever leave yoga? How could I ever forget yoga?
My first introduction to yoga was in college. Wanting to experience different workouts, with the goal to meet my physical fitness requirement, I signed up for a power yoga class. I loved learning the flows but definitely did not appreciate the beauty and strength of yoga at the time.
I kept my power yoga book from the class for years, and sometimes I would pull it out and try to get back into it. But I didn’t have the confidence or patience with myself to keep going.
Then, I started working for a company that offered free Ashtanga yoga classes. I was unsure about the classes at first. I worked at the company for over a year before I ventured to a class. But when I finally did go, I fell head over heals in love. The instructor was patient and worked with all yogi levels. I started to do things I didn’t think possible, for me anyway. Did I really just do an arm balance with one knee on my elbow and the other in the air? Did I really just do bird of paradise, with my arms wrapped around one thigh and the other in the air? What?
Yes, I fell in love with yoga. Don’t worry, Chef Comte is totally fine with it. 🙂
Why I Love Yoga
Yoga is challenging. I hate holding a pose for 10 breaths—well, depending on the pose. I could do child’s pose all day long, maybe. 😉 But crescent lunge, that pose and I have a love-hate relationship. But I love that the different poses—yes, even the ones I struggle with—challenge me. Yoga pushes me past my comfort zone, and at the end, I’m always so surprised by what I’ve accomplished, and I’m proud of myself—especially when I do a pose I have not done or work through a pose I struggled with before.
Yoga improves my mind and breathing. I love the ujjayi breath. It feels cleansing and empowers me through the rest of my practice. It teaches me to calm my mind and soul. I use it sometimes when stress feels overpowering. I use it when I’m having a hard time getting to sleep. I use it through my yoga practice to push myself through a pose or flow. It strengthens and empowers me.
Yoga strengthens me. I love the muscles I’m building in my arms, legs, and core. In the last month, I have made yoga a part of my daily routine, and I love the difference I am seeing in my body. And I love the internal strength I get from it as well. My resolve is deeper. I feel more in control of me. I feel more confident.
But, Let’s Get Real; How I Struggle with Yoga
Those beautiful yoga poses and practices you see all over instagram… That’s definitely not me. Although, the more I practice, the more I have two seconds of, “Wow! That might be insta worthy.” But there are many times throughout my practice that I stumble and fall.
When? You need an example?
Leg balance poses are the thing I struggle with the most. And just when I think I might be doing a little better, the worse I seem to get. What? That doesn’t make sense.
In the last few weeks, I’ve struggled with foot cramps as I go into airplane pose. I don’t remember experiencing that as much before. I talked to my instructor and she said to try eating more potassium. I listened. I’m trying. I have a banana before I go to practice everyday. I have some potatoes here in my hotel room to make with dinner. (I had some french fries… Shhh. :-|)
That’s one example. I’m definitely not a pro. There are many poses I still struggle with. But, that doesn’t keep me from loving the challenge.
The reasons I love yoga definitely outweigh the cons. And really, I believe in myself. I’ll get through my current struggles. And then I’ll have more, and I’ll get through those.
But, Here’s What I’ve Learned about Myself and Yoga
It doesn’t matter that I’m not perfect. It doesn’t matter that I struggle with some poses. There is beauty through the journey.
Let me say that again:
There is beauty through the journey.
I feel like a better person because I have given myself over to something that I feel is making me better, something that is improving my inside and my outside. I’m happier and healthier.
And it doesn’t matter that I do yoga and you do crossfit, or hiking, or cycling, or running. Those are all amazing things. They are challenging. They empower you. They make you a better you.
What do you think? Do you do yoga? Why do you love it? Do you do another activity that you feel empowers you, makes you better? Please share in the comments.