Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Year of Yoga

I realized a couple of days ago that today is my one year anniversary of practicing yoga. As I mentioned in my first post on this blog that yoga has taught me that I need to slow down and notice more, but it's really taught me tons about myself, and I get a pretty good workout to boot.
I'll admit that I was first attracted to yoga because I had a fabulous coworker named Pauline who practiced yoga, and I really admired her discipline. She also looked amazing, and I wanted to look like that too. I went to a couple of classes and that was enough for me. I was 20 pounds heavier then than I am now and in terrible shape, so it was a little too hard for me. After having Jack I wanted to supplement my cardio workouts with some resistance training, and my friend Trish told me she was going to It's Yoga, and I should join her. I am so glad I did. I have to admit, I was first convinced when I met Amy, one of the owners and instructors at the studio. She's got that great yoga physique that I would love to have, and so when I saw her I said "sign me up".
The first few months were pretty frustrating. I really comitted myself to going three times a week and I was trying really hard, but it just was coming so slowly to me. I mean, I sucked. I would hang out on the back row so no one could see me and try to keep up. But I was proud of myself for trying something I was definitely not good at and sticking to it (probably because I had paid for a whole year up front). In time I saw small progressions in my ability, and I talked to a lot of people at the studio and heard that they had been practicing for years and still couldn't do some of the things I was struggling with. In time I learned to relax a bit and just go with it, and over time I think I've learned a bit about not judging myself so harshly.

I love a lot of the poses in yoga, but I have to say that I have learned the most through savasana, or corpse pose, and not only because you get to lay there and do nothing for about 5 - 10 minutes. Amy gave me a pamphlet on yoga philosophy during a one of our private classes and through reading it I learned that I needed to take that time during savasana to learn to listen (I'm a really terrible listener). I would try to take the time laying there to think of absolutely nothing but the sounds around me; the cars driving by, people breathing, the ceiling fans. I really had a breakthrough with it, and I think it helped me make some small steps to become better at listening (like Steve, who is the best listener I know).
I still have TONS to learn; in a year I feel like I've only scratched the surface It's great to feel challenged and to learn so much about myself in the process. I still don't have a perfect yoga body like Pauline or Amy. But honestly, it doesn't matter to me anymore.