I remember walking into my first official yoga class when I was 15. My mom and I went to what would now be considered “hot yoga flow.” Back then I just thought it was called torture. I was close to passing out halfway through too many of what looked liked push-ups and I hated the fact my mother looked more flexible than me–a 15 year old Varsity swimmer. In fact the only memory I have of that class was the foot long turkey sandwich from Subway which I ate in less than 5 minutes immediately after because I was that hungry from the physicality of the practice. Who knew yoga was hard?
Fast forward 6 years. I was a Senior in college and running 30 miles a week. I read that yoga was a great way to stretch after a run so I began doing a few at home sessions from this website called, Yoga Download. Besides the sparce class at home, I also enrolled a class in college which focused on Anatomy, Yoga and Pilates. However, yoga still didn’t keep my attention and I seriously hated/ dreaded the ab portions of the classes. So instead of continuing with yoga, I stuck with running. Running was familiar and I loved improving with each mile I ran. To me, yoga would never be my thing.
Now here I am. It is 2012. I am on my way to finishing yoga teacher training and going to yoga 4-5 times a week. I don’t run anymore. SHOCKER! I know, right? I was a running junkie. You know the type: runners who purchased new shoes every season, only wore Nike outfits, and ran in sub zero degree Chicago weather because I “couldn’t miss a workout.” I ran a half marathon, a 15k, a 10k, and six 5ks. I ran so much that it stopped being fun and started becoming a chore. I got anxious if I missed a run. I would knock out HIIT (high intensity interval trainings) in 20 minutes on a treadmill, if that’s all the time I had. My life revolved around running and not in a good way. Last year, when I was visiting my parents, I couldn’t work out in any of the neighboring gyms because I had used up every single guest pass possibility that was offered. All that was left for me was either a Jillian Michaels dvd or a yoga class. I figured, what the hell, I’ll try it again and be open to the possibility. That is when my life changed. I went to a yoga flow class and got my butt kicked (in a good way). I walked out feeling lighter, happier and confident. I was smiling ear to ear. It didn’t matter that I had no clue what a Namaskar A was; I just followed along. This was the moment I stopped allowing running to rule my life and I finally let yoga into my heart. Once back in Chicago, I began working at a studio in order to take classes and build my practice. SO now here I am. A yoga junkie for a year. Now, the only working out I do involves Surya A’s, B’s, Inversions, Backbends, Balancing postures and Savasana. I feel stronger. I feel healthier. I don’t base my plans or day around whether I got a workout in, because now I choose to do yoga when I want, where I want.
My journey to yoga wasn’t easy. It took many tries and a lot of patience. But, I am in a happier place than ever before.
Thanks yoga for everything.