Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Look at me Now

So one year ago today, I began a regular, dedicated yoga practice.  September 7th, 2010 was the first time I had step foot into a private yoga studio, and my only experience prior was a limited collection of DVD’s, a college fit class, and one failed attempt at the Y.  Then my most current and continual yoga practice had been with Tony and his P90X version of Yoga X.  I worked hard to figure out the poses, but I was still in my bedroom, on carpet, using my make-up mirror for alignment, and blasting myself with a fan whenever I got remotely sweating.  All of which was quite different from the yoga I would begin when I started practicing at my current studio.
Truth be told, I actually had my first exposure to yoga at 14 years old.  One day I sneaked into the basement and popped in a Jane Austin “Power Yoga” VHS.  I did that tape almost every day for 3 weeks, and it wasn’t cool for a young teen to be doing workout videos in her basement—alone—so I didn’t want anyone to find out.  I was afraid of letting my friends do it with me, because yoga poses were a little strange and some made you fart.   I figured if I got flack for doing Tae-Bo at age 12, then yoga would not go over any better.   
Before long, yoga started to become more main-stream and I also grew old enough to not care what people thought.   By that time my VHS died on me and I had other DVDs to try and friends to try them with.  However, for the most part, yoga was still something that I did relatively on my own and randomly.
Ever since I physically could, I was a competitive athlete.   It was just natural to work hard and push through to the end—soccer, ice skating, softball, basketball, track, ultimate Frisbee, hiking, everything was competitive to me. 
This was obvious even at a young age. 
Easter egg hunts were not simply a fun, holiday game—oh no.  My cousin Pete and I could turn this and any other family activity into a full-blown battle.  It was necessary to warm-up and stretch before a game of Monopoly—and forget poker—you might as well bring your bullet-proof vest.  Don’t get me wrong, I love it.  But recently on my journey to adulthood (which I’ve barely started), I stopped fighting other people and I began fighting myself.  Not like in a good competitive way, but in a let’s-beat-myself-to-exhaustion-with-no-end sort of way.  With no particular sport to play anymore, I became the sport.  And I was losing. 
So it was a perfect time in my life to finally pursue yoga.  Despite my awkward start with yoga as a teen, I always knew in my heart that I was in love and it would eventually become a regular part of my life.  There was something different about it that felt really, really good even when I was immature and relatively unstressed in life.  Yoga practice was a chance for me to push my body, but still be kind to myself. 
What I didn’t anticipate were the enormous changes that would take place in my life from beginning my yoga practice.  Mentally and emotionally, personally and professionally, inside and out.  I would have never guessed that within a year I would be this physically fit, madly in love, engaged, working at a new fantastic job, certified to teach AND teach yoga.  To some these all might seem unrelated, but I know in my heart that it is completely related. 
Am I bragging?  NO. 
I was terrified to begin this journey, was filled with self-doubt and frustration, and even struggled to continue.  But I got through it and now—one year later—I am blown away by where I am. Shocked.  And there is nothing special about me; anyone can do this!   Maybe yoga isn’t your thing, but everyone has their thing.  Find it and get after it.
September is about fresh starts and new beginnings.  If you want something, NOW IS THE TIME. 

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