A someone who always mocked people who followed the yoga trend, I never thought I'd writing an entire post about it. But here is: my experience doing yoga for a full week. The main reason I wanted to start doing yoga was because of the testaments people who did it gave me about how it made them feel. I could only brush it off as them following a fab for so long before I had to think about it as a viable option for stress release, muscle strengthening, and overall mindfulness.
I wrote a post back in December 2016 about workouts for small spaces that featured a few youtube videos about yoga, but at the time I was more focused on intensive cardio workouts and didn't give yoga enough of a chance to really see what it could do for my mind and body. I am still using the videos by Yoga with Adriene, since she has so many that cater to beginners like me. The only difference is that I am actually immersing myself into the mindset to really feel a difference before and after the workout.
Adriene always tries to remind you during your practice to be aware of your body. I never really knew what that meant until I took the time to listen to they way she explained it. She tries to connect your body to the earth as though the two are working in tandem. After the second at-home yoga session was when I started to experience this. I closed my mind off to anything else and just let my body feel everything that was happening around it. The hard floor, the way my back ached from standing up straight (something I rarely do) and the overall change to my posture. It made me aware of how I hold myself, even in my day-to-day life. I now recognize when I'm slouching and try to correct myself by giving myself some "room between the ears", as she so often says.
PAIN & SWEAT
For the past week I only did her beginner video and even then I worked up a sweat. It's only 20 minutes long and focuses more on breathing and body awareness than anything, but even getting into the warrior one pose was enough to make my thighs burn ever so slightly. And with that comes an increased heart rate, something I never thought happened during yoga workouts until I started doing them. The most pain I noticed was how my back hurt when I corrected my posture, as though it wasn't used to being up straight long enough to work the muscles holding me up. I would recommend trying yoga even if just for correcting posture after years working out of a desk chair.
My favourite experience during this process was learning how to feel relaxed and accepting that in the moment. In the fast-paced society of North America, we are told that relaxation equates to laziness, so I am always hesitant to accept a moment of genuine ease other than when I'm sleeping, and even then I tend to grind my teeth from stress. Being able to put aside as little as 20 minutes in my day to just focus on my breathing and feeling my body without the urge to get up and constantly move or do some sort of "activity" is such a unique experience that I didn't even know was missing from my life until I felt it. I've now begun moving on to her videos targeting stress and anxiety specifically. I hope to continue a routine of yoga, even if it's only for a few minutes every so often during the week, just to maintain the habit and de-stress ever so slightly.
Have you started yoga? What have your experiences been?