Yoga Practice

What Kept Me on the Mat (Until I Actually Liked Yoga)

I started yoga because of Madonna’s arms. I was in my late teens, pretty tuned in to the world of celebrities and how they stay in shape. Despite a strong interest and participation in sports, I was feeling devastated that I might never have a personal chef and in-home trainer to keep me at my best. I knew I wouldn’t always have basketball, gymnastics, volleyball, and track coaches designing my workouts for me. Madonna’s finely toned arms, and her commitment to yoga, put me on the mat.

But I didn’t like it.

I was that athlete– the fast-paced person who resented slowing down, holding poses, staying still and quiet. So I would try, then give it up, then notice Madonna’s arms, again. Then try again. Then give it up. Again.

Now I’m a yoga teacher, so obviously something clicked somewhere along the way. These are the things that kept me on the mat until I fell in love with it.

yoga child

Child’s Pose and Savasana

During college, I was teaching a 7:00am indoor cycling class; I got myself up an hour earlier to attend the 6:00am yoga class. I was no longer competing in sports, but I still hadn’t realized that a racing mind was something worth ditching. I struggled through the long holds (boring!), looking forward to child’s pose and, finally, savasana when I could lie down and get a glimpse of the rest I had left in my bed. I was hooked on savasana long before I got hooked on the rest of yoga.

Progress (Without Trying to Make Progress)

I was keeping busy with a variety of fitness endeavors, so I felt like my strength and flexibility were where they needed to be for yoga. Therefore, it surprised and delighted me when I started noticing improvements in my physical practice. It didn’t take that long, either. Within a few weeks, it was easier to hold my downward dogs and warriors. I found myself sinking deeper, improving without even realizing I was trying to.

Body Awareness

As the teacher adjusted my poses, I became aware of my body in a way I never had before. I marveled at it, and wished I known it so well when I was still high jumping and attempting back handsprings.

(Even years after this original awakening, I am still learning about my body every single time I get on the mat. It never ends. In a good way.)

Patience

The realization that I was becoming a patient person was my first awareness of the other benefits yoga brings to your life. Not only did I have the patience to hold through a long high lunge, but I didn’t really mind waiting in line, either. I knew instinctively that yoga was responsible for this development. If yoga could do that, what else could it do?

And that did it. I was in.

All those things still make me want to practice, but there are many others now, as well. I tell my new yoga students to try multiple classes with different teachers before forming an opinion about yoga. I can’t imagine what my life would look like if I hadn’t been so stubborn about making yoga work for me, and finding those things to appreciate along the way.

forward fold

Did you like yoga after your first class? Did you stick with it anyway long enough to fall in love?

2 Comments

  1. Megan Reddix

    Megan Reddix

    March 13, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    What a great story! I cracked up when I read “I started yoga because of Madonna’s arms”. I’m totally with you! I started yoga because of Audrey Hepburn’s commitment to sleek bod and her commitment to yoga. That woman was my hero. Like you, I struggled with actually enjoying yoga. Unlike you, I was just lazy. I wanted to be thin without the work. I wanted to be tone without trying. Yoga was too much. So I pushed myself to practice once a week. In college, going to a studio was too expensive, so when I was given a Wii U Fit as a gift, I jumped in a little more. I slowly developed a twice, then three times a week routine. After two years of convincing, I finally decided that I needed to commit myself to something. I had slowly started developing a love for yoga when I found a friend who was REALLY into it. After practicing with her’s and Audrey Hepburn’s influence I knew this was something that could be mine. The day I got married I also made a daily commitment to practice yoga. It’s no longer just my fitness routine, it’s my way of life. I’ve become more patient, more caring (toward myself and toward others) and I am so much happier. I attribute a lot of my happiness to my husband, but yoga has also done wonders. Life just seems brighter since that day. Was it the marriage or yoga that did that? I don’t know…But I refuse to give up either!

  2. Can You Do Yoga for Weight Loss? | Your Body Best

    March 10, 2017 at 12:25 am

    […] is great! As I’ve written about before, I got started with yoga for the physical reasons. Madonna had amazing arms and she swore by yoga, […]

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