When I graduated college and moved back home, I was determined to lose the weight I had gained during those four years. Let’s be honest, I didn’t gain the freshman 15. I gained the freshman 20 (or 25). Some of it was needed, but most of it wasn’t. You can read more about that journey in my Self Love and Body Image post. Long story short, I went on a health kick when I settled into my new city and tried a bunch of different exercise routines. During this time my mom also started working out more but she did yoga at her work. In December 2012 when I had a day off, she suggested I come to class with her. So I did.
I had originally been hesitant because I tried yoga a couple of times in high school. I was a dedicated ballet dancer and was able to take classes through my school. The downside was when we had school off (spring break, Christmas break, etc), there were no classes to take. So, I tried different yoga classes to stay flexible. I actually hated it, every single class. But this time was different. In hindsight, I don’t think I was ready for yoga in high school because I wasn’t open to it. I thought the spiritual side was silly and it seemed so slow and boring. When I tried it 4-5 years later, I was a very different person.
After that first class, my mom and I signed up for a beginners yoga series at a studio near my mom’s work for January 2013. Taking this series changed everything. I loved the teacher, shout out to Josi Adler! I loved the studio space, shout out to Springs Yoga, where I now teach! And most importantly, I loved the instruction so I felt like I actually knew what I was doing. After that series ended, I continued classes a couple of times a week. Slowly I increased how many classes I went to, then after a year or so I tried some more advanced classes.
Yoga and ballet are not the same by a long shot, but because of my background, yoga fit right into my lifestyle. The movements of both require fluidity, but also so much strength. After a hard last year in ballet, it had left a bitter taste in my mouth. I knew I couldn’t go back to dancing and yoga filled that void. I was able to move my body again in a familiar and comfortable way.
I also have what I like to call “eccentricities” in my body from all the years of ballet. The alignment based yoga I study has helped heal and correct many of those areas that needed a bit of love.
Most importantly, I was in a place after college where I needed some spiritual guidance. Everyone says you discover who you are in college, but I find that first year after college to be much more informative. For the first time you learn who you are in a non-controlled environment. I was a bit lost and confused, however, I always felt at home when I was on my mat. I figured out what qualities I wanted in myself, and which ones I didn’t. I learned to reflect; I learned to pay attention to the subtleties of myself; I learned to love despite some flaws I needed to work on.
Yoga didn’t change me overnight, but it gave me an outlet and tools to find my truest self, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I’m not sure where I would be if I hadn’t gone to that first class.
How did you get into yoga? Did you take a class or try a video online? What made you want to try it?