Tuesday, October 27, 2015
How Embracing Yoga Has Positively Changed My Life-Part I
In my youth I avoided yoga as something only crunchy vegetarian tree huggers practiced. It seemed foreign and inaccessible to a klutzy, ungraceful woman who embraced daily wine, a USDA prime steak so rare it mooed, and couldn’t imagine twisting my body into the pretzel like shapes shown in magazine ads.
Then in the spring of 2002 I looked in the mirror and saw I’d lost my muscle tone, gained the post 40 fifteen pounds and considered that I’d experienced excruciating back pain for no apparent reason. It was time to act if I wanted to enjoy life to my chosen age of 96.
So I joined a fitness center that included various toning, Pilates, aerobic and yoga classes. I decided to give yoga a try. The classes available that fit within my schedule were a more advanced power yoga class and a more gentle Hatha class.
These classes weren’t easy; I struggled; but I found that I’d been completely misguided about yoga.
There was no expectation that I immediately contort my body into inaccessible poses. Instead, I found that true practitioners of yoga encourage one to accept what one can do on any given day, understand that all bodies are created differently and some bodies are not physically capable of all poses, and that I needed to do what was right for me on any given day.
I kept going back. The environment wasn’t ideal at a mixed-use fitness center. Yoga was not the focus, only an offering among many fitness options. The instructors were not certified yoga practitioners / teachers. But, I learned a lot and decided that this was a path for me to embrace a holistic approach to mind, spirit and body health.