This is my yoga journey. Written and directed by yours truly.
I decided I wanted to embark upon a new journey. One that would bring me peace while engaging my stiff limbs. Yoga sounded perfect.
I am a quitter. I’d love to tell you I’m not, but I am. I once played Candy Crush. I made it through several levels before I couldn’t pass a level. I never played it again. I quit softball, ballet, violin, and several other hobbies. I don’t like conflict. I don’t like being pushed. Knowing this about myself, getting a yoga membership wasn’t going to be my strategy. I’d simply not go. Like gym memberships of the past. Instead, I needed a trainer. Someone who would come to my house and get me moving and motivated. They say (who is “they”? I don’t know either) it takes 3 weeks to form a habit. Great. I’m going for 4 weeks then.
My search began. I received many referrals to yoga instructors who would be willing to be a part of chapter 1 of my yoga story. I talked to several different people and each had a different story to tell of their own. Every message and call felt like a connection, I knew it would be a hard decision.
Then I found her. I found the one. Her name is Emily.
We decided on meeting at my house Monday-Thursday from 5:30-6am (which turned into 5:30-6:15am and I was 100% okay with that). Friday would be my day to practice on my own.
The weekend proceeding my first day I bought a yoga mat. Of course, I looked for an orange one and to my disappointment, I could not find one. At least not in my price range. I settled on bright turquoise.
Day one: Here we go! I am so excited! I can do this. I’m going to make yoga my bitch.
Day two: I am so sore. Yoga is hard. People make it look easy. I currently hate those people.
Day three: Yup, still sore. I am inches away from touching my toes. Was I ever able to touch my toes? Curse you crooked spine.
Day four: I am incredibly sore, but I haven’t had a headache all week (I’m typically plagued with 2-3 a week). I’ve also felt a greater sense of strength and confidence. Is this really working? My digestive system seems to be working better as well. It can’t be this easy to rid myself of stomach pains and headaches, can it?
Day five: Here I go… all on my own… she wrote down what to do… I wonder if this pose is right? I’m losing focus quick… how do I do this again? Oh man, this sucks alone. I lasted maybe 10 minutes.
Day one: This is getting a little bit more enjoyable, although I don’t think I’m any better than last week.
Day two: I think I really like yoga. I’m ready to take this on! I can pretty much conquer the world right now.
Day three: Tried new positions. Loved new positions. Yoga rocks!
Day four: I am ridiculously sore. Like, ouch. Yoga sucks. I hate yoga. In fact, I will continue on my 4 weeks and then never do yoga again. I hate yoga. Like, hate it. I can’t even begin to tell you how horrific it is. I cannot wait to be done.
Day five: I lasted alone 4 minutes. Maybe Jason should wake up early with me on Fridays for yoga. I still hate yoga and cannot wait to be done with it. I suck at it. I need a new hobby.
(over the weekend purchases- hot yoga towel, yoga clothes, sweat band, yoga block)
Day one: Did hot yoga instead for a change. Oh. Em. Gee. (more details below)
Day two: I am never going to be as good as anyone else. I can’t bend. My poses look horrible by comparison. Why does my body hate me? When I’m laying on my back I cannot even straighten out my legs high (think of an L shape). This is unfair and stupid. Yoga is stupid.
Day three: When will I get over this mental block of not being good enough? When will I accept my body for what it can do, instead of beating myself up for what it can’t do? This is far more mentally and emotionally challenging than I would have ever imagined. I want to give up, but I refuse to allow that to happen.
Day four: Today was good. I felt good. I felt powerful. This sure is a rollercoaster of emotions! Emily once told me, it’s not about touching my toes… it’s about my journey on the way down. She reminded me today that even 5 minutes of yoga a day is better than 5 minutes of sitting down. She reminded me that strength was more than being strong and muscular. I feel like I’m on the road I’ve been looking for.
Day five: Doing yoga alone is boring. I’m not to that point yet. I need a buddy system.
On Saturday I went to hot yoga again, except this time in the morning. I quickly learned I prefer it at night. I was wiped out all day and had a migraine. At least at night I can sleep through those hours of hell.
Day one: I am excited to do yoga. It feels like it’s all coming together. Finally. FINALLY!!!
Day two: I am nowhere near ready for this to end. I’m over the hump of starting, and I’m ready to keep going! Yoga feels great! I actually practice the breathing and mantra’s while I am work if I get stressed. I’m sad this is coming to a close. Practicing at 5:30am is really what works best for my schedule, yet I can’t get myself to do it alone. That’s one hump I can’t seem to get past. I need a neighbor/yoga buddy who also wants to practice yoga at 5:30am. That’s a rare, if not impossible, find. I might have to give that dream up.
Day three: Another great day! I even went to the gym on my lunch and worked on my arms so my planks are easier for me. I feel so motivated, I wish I could bottle the energy up!
Day four: I think I am too saddened by this month coming to a close to really pay attention. I wish this could be how I started out every day. Emily is an incredible teacher and I’ve come to really enjoy our time together and the peaceful energy that surrounds her. I’m starting to like yoga and now it’s ending. Today I said so long to my mornings with Emily, although we decided to still get together once a month or so to practice together. That gives me a little motivation to keep going since that holds me a bit accountable. This has been an incredible way to start each day and it’s a gift I’ll treasure for a long time.
Hot yoga: I thought to myself, I can do this. I can do yoga in the heat. That’s all it is after all, right? Wrong. First, I had to drink water all day. I probably drank around 100 ounces. I was peeing every 30 minutes like I hadn’t peed all day long. I definitely depleted my body of important minerals and next time I’ll drink a couple sports drinks too and eat a banana (I did research, of course after the hot yoga). Many of the positions were familiar, but you have to balance in a new way because you are dripping wet with sweat. We aren’t talking about a good sweat that we’ve all had from time to time. We’re talking about you might as well be in the shower because you are drenched. I laid down a lot. I participated in probably 25% of the class. I am 100% okay with that. I’ll definitely try it again and I’d be interested in going once a week. My skin felt amazing the next day, my dead skin literally melted off (you could see and feeling it, EW!), and it was wonderfully detoxifying. However, my head was pounding afterward. Like, P-O-U-N-D-I-N-G! That’s how I knew I drank too much water. The headache is common and has been deemed the “hot yoga headache”. It might be awhile before my body can tolerate the hot yoga enough to not hurt my head, but I’ll get there, supposedly. I’d say the heat was the worst, but quite honestly it was the cold that came after. I left yoga hot and sweaty and about 15 minutes into the car ride my body temperature returned to normal, and the rest of me instantly realized I was wearing only a tank top and shorts while covered in cold sweat. I was instantly FREEZING!!! I came home shivering and quickly got into a ridiculously hot shower. I stayed in the shower far longer than I needed to. I thought I was never going to warm up. But I did.
Reading: Here is an article I love to circle back to as it keeps me grounded and in reality. Although, I seem to only read it when I don’t need it, of course.
Driving: I’ve realized that after classes I need to sit in my car for a few minutes before driving. I’m at such peace that my focus isn’t all there. It feels very surreal to be driving with my mind not all the way in focus. That can’t be safe.
Twist: I bought another yoga deal at another yoga studio to try out. At this point, I’ve gone to 2 classes. One was more about breathing and stretching and the other was very challenging for me. I benefited from both and I can see why people would go to different classes. There’s truly something to gain no matter what.
Encouragement: I had to leave this here…. There’s no way I could read it and delete it. Clearly, Jason read my blog while it was in progress as I was writing along the way, and decided to write as me (which was highly confusing at first because it kinda sorta sounded like me at the beginning but I didn’t remember writing it)
Day one- I’ve been amazingly strong thru all of this. I have sacrificed sleep to do Yoga every single morning. Despite not being able to touch my toes I can honestly admit that I feel more energetic, that my digestion has been improved and my headaches are less frequent and more mild in nature. I can admit that I cannot do this alone and Emily has been a perfect trainer for me. I will continue to make this an important piece of my life as I want to live to be an active old lady… I love you and I’m so incredibly of you!
The end: That’s it. There you have it. My 4 week journey of yoga. It’s hard, especially for someone like me with perfectionist tendencies. I don’t know how to not beat myself up if I can’t do something right the first time. But alas, that subject is for another day. For now I will simply close this by reminding us all… Yoga is not about touching your toes, it’s about what you learn on the way down.