Recently I tried my first yoga class. It was a completely new experience, and it was a surprisingly personal and spiritual one. In fact, I found the novelty really exciting.
A little fitness background about me: I am heavily into spinning and kickboxing classes. Both are intense and great ways to get out my aggression. The instructors yell and the sweat drips off in buckets. It’s such a supportive atmosphere and I love how motivated the members are.
So, if I’m into high intensity aerobics classes, why did I decide to try a gentle discipline like yoga? The truth is, my friends have been trying it for months. Although I was dubious about trying it, I began to be intrigued. Through some reading, I discovered that yoga promotes flexibility, weight loss and inner peace. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Glen Axelrod states, “Yoga is excellent for strengthening both flexibility and balance.” When one form of exercise has the power to do so much good, I figure it’s worth trying.
I’ve learned that yoga focuses on the connection of the mind, body and soul. Practitioners enjoy clarity of thought and stronger bodies. Their muscles are lean and their joints are more flexible. I’ve even read that some people have seen an improvement in the amount of back pain they suffer and, since yoga focuses on the mind as well, it also provides an excellent outlet for stress.
After reading all of that, and being encouraged by my friend Meriah to give yoga a try, I was convinced. Now, I’m not going to say it wasn’t awkward. Believe me, it was!
Before class started, I definitely had a few butterflies in my stomach. I loved how warm and welcoming the instructor was. She really made me feel like I was a part of the class and inquired whether or not I had any injuries or other concerns.
Luckily for me, I also had Meriah to rely upon. She helped me figure out the various postures. She’d even shown me the right footwear that would be needed for the class. I’d been told to expect a quiet class, but I was still amazed by just how silent and peaceful that room was. I’ve never been in a gym studio where the silence was so profound and enlightening.
I made my way through poses, which I now know are called asanas, like the mountain and the warrior pose. When things got tricky, I just looked to Meriah for inspiration. She really helped me keep it together.
I can hardly wait to go back to yoga. I’m also looking forward to being able to practice the poses at home. Between the poses, the controlled breathing and the meditation, I’m going to be getting that “me” time that I’ve been missing while incorporating a wonderful practice in my life.
Carolyn Fallon is a 20-something year-old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid spinner, healthy cooking enthusiast and lover of life. Check out Carolyn’s fitness blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com!