Yoga, I Used to Hate You

Let me start by saying, I have hated yoga my entire life. What? Did I just say that? Yes, I did! I freaking hated it with a passion. Like all of it. The breathing, the bare feet, the poses, the mat, the yoga pants, all of it. Look I hate people’s feet. The only feet I could ever touch belong to my kids. Seeing other people’s feet made me want to vomit every time I took a yoga class. Also, the out loud breathing. Please stop. I hate it. No one is a dragon and no one should breathe like one. You may say I have issues, I wouldn’t disagree with you. I do have an issue. Issue with yoga. Let’s talk a little about the acrobatic yoga. While I appreciate strong bodies doing meaningful things, I simply hate looking at contortionists. I hate Cirque de Soleil for this reason. If your ribs stick out and you look like you can smell your own butt, I don’t want to see it. Let’s move on to the music. I can’t stand bells, chants, and low pitch camel sounds. I don’t want to move to the Himalayas or to India for my hour of fitness. I want to work out, get strong, and feel energized. Not depressed. That stuff depresses me.

Ok, now that you know my feelings, I would like to tell you what changed.

A month ago, a new yoga studio opened next to my office. I literally walk 20 seconds to get there. I had to go and say hello and welcome the ladies of The Yoga Shak to our hood. They were very kind and yoga-ish. You know zen-ish and welcoming. I saw the studio space and agreed to take a complimentary class to get to know them. I can guess the challenge they may face. Our office space is located off of Route 7 and across One Loudoun. We are across the street from the George Washington University Loudoun Campus. You would think that everyone would know this place.  No one ever knows where we are and when I have meetings, people always get lost. So for a business that relies on street traffic, this place will have none. So they need to get the word out and I was eager to help them out.

So, I showed up and first thing that slapped me in the face was that it was hot! Ok not that hot. But hot. I went into the studio, laid out my mat, and was welcomed by the other students and the instructor made some small talk reviewed breathing technique and told us to get in downward dog. I did.  Then something happened. Covered in sweat, I was bowing down saying namaste. What??? It was over. What do you mean? You are going to ask if we just held one pose for an hour. No. We did so many, I can’t recall. I didn’t have a minute to think about anyone breathing near me, their feet, their yoga pants or the music (ok, I did notice the music which was actually good). I was so busy trying to get into the poses and breathe at the same time I lost all track of time and reality. I was present for one hour and only thinking of the moment I was in. Not the next pose, not the last, not what I was going to eat for lunch or even the bills that were waiting for me at the office. Nothing makes me forget food or money. Nothing! Yoga did!

img_7297I went back to my office covered in sweat. My team staring blankly at me due to my silence. I was so happy. Yoga made me happy. I called my sister who had been telling me that I needed yoga for years and she was cracking up. It appears yoga has types. This was Vinyasa Flow. The poses are married into a sequence dictated by your breath. You breathe in, do this, breathe out and do the next. So on and so forth. I am not insane, I am not doing yoga every minute, just 3 times in the studio and a few stretch sessions at home. Oy my hamstrings, don’t get me started on that. It is called a yoga butt in case you wonder. Yes, it’s a thing. That is another blog post for another time.

To make a long story longer (sorry), I have never ever had an exercise routine that excited me this much. Never ever did I get so much satisfaction from seeing my body change and get stronger. Never in my life did I sweat this much while exercising. Never ever have I been this present and in the moment as I am when doing yoga. I love it. I am no yogini, don’t get me wrong. I probably never will be. I love the place and look forward to every session. Even though today I tried to behead myself by doing a headstand. Namaste!