The first time I tried yoga I thought it was b-o-r-i-n-g. It was a beginner, gentle flow class and it definitely didn’t leave me feeling sweaty at the end. I was 15 at the time and happier kickboxing or doing ab-busting Pilates classes.
Fast-forward three years and I was an obsessed gym-rat (which is a whole other story – perhaps I’ll tell it another time). I was in my first year at university and when I wasn’t in class I was at the gym…burning too many calories and sweating my butt off. The gym was my go-to for relieving all feelings. Feelings of stress, frustration, anxiety – you name it. But I never really left the gym feeling totally de-stressed, I just left feeling numb (mentally AND physically).
I knew I needed some form of stress relief though, so when I saw a ‘yoga for exam stress’ poster I signed up, brought a friend and tried to “find my centre” while I attempted to straighten my legs in downward dog. Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely relaxing…but I just couldn’t fully relax. I also found myself constantly comparing myself to the person next to me – which is the complete opposite of what yoga is all about.
I did yoga for a couple years at university and then called it quits in my fourth year. I actually gave up the gym completely – which, again, is all part of the whole “other story” I alluded to above.
Anyway. Skip ahead another few years…I was now out of university for three years, in a new job and stressed out as ever. I actually had crazzzzy anxiety and was ready to take on anything that would kick my anxiety to the curb. It was then that I remembered the small amount of stress-relief that yoga had brought to me in university (even though I wasn’t really quite embracing it then). I ended up pulling out my mat, finding a “yoga for anxiety” YouTube class and I took an hour to focus on my breath as I tried to exhale all my worries. Wow. It felt so good. It was a a huge stress-relief.
I then found a studio that was all about yoga and meditation for healing. It became my sanctuary. The yoga I was practicing was healing my mind first and my body second. I was doing yoga not for a body workout but for a mind workout. I learned a ridiculous amount about the connection between yoga and mindfulness and I started educating myself as much as I could to completely remove the anxiety in my life. My dedication to it worked and I felt more refreshed than I had in YEARS.
I realized that for me, practicing yoga on a daily basis is something I have to do to feel good.
…But…oops…I’ve kind of been ignoring that lately…
It’s been about six months now where my practice has gone down hill. The summer was so busy with pre-wedding festivities, adjusting to our new home (which isn’t close to the studio I fell in love with) and finalizing wedding plans. September came around and we got married (the best day ever), had our honeymoon (also amazing)…I was in a few other friends’ weddings…then it was Christmas, my family got a puppy…I launched The Omm Life…have been working my 9-5 job…blah, blah, blah…and now it’s February 17th! Isn’t it crazy how we can make so many excuses for something that we know makes us feel good? I guess it’s all part of being ‘human’.
…But now I NEED yoga back in my life. No more excuses. I know how it makes me feel…and it’s an AMAZING feeling.
Finding yoga has been quite a journey for me. I’m hoping this little break I’ve had from it is the last yoga break I’ll have because for me it’s a practice that keeps me grounded and makes me feel like the best version of myself.
Excuses can be so easy to make, eh? Do you ever find yourself in a workout rut…or any type of rut for that matter?
Also – do you have a favourite yoga and/or meditation studio in Toronto? Would love to hear from you!