Breathe In, Upward Dog, Exhale Downward Dog, and Hold.

Happy August! I was inspired by a co-worker this month to make my monthly “healthy-ism” yoga. And not just any yoga – vinyasa yoga. I’ll do the work for you and search “Vinyasa Yoga” on wikipedia.

In summary, this type of yoga is in a room heated to 85 degrees, and focuses on breathing, ensuring that movements last breath-lengths.

This isn’t Bikram Yoga, what you’re probably thinking about. Bikram is in a room heated to 100 degrees and super intense. That was my first-ever yoga experience. I made it through the whole class, but felt incredibly nauseous half way through. That’s normal, apparently. After that, my yoga career had ended, but it was always something I wanted to get back to doing, but as a beginner and not watching two hefty men in speedos sweat from places that don’t normally sweat while performing Warrior Stance. I’m not kidding. That happened to me.

My co-worker told me that her friend owned a studio around the corner from my house, so I went to WalMart, bought a $10 mat, and was ready for class! I had planned to go to a 6:00 session, meaning I would go straight from work to yoga. That part is important for this small side story:

I had left work and found myself in a traffic jam. Incredibly nervous I was going to be “that girl” and walk in late to my first yoga session wearing my professional clothing and having to whisper to the instructor who had probably already reached nirvana or whatever while every student stared at me, I did the only thing that seemed rational at the time – changed into my yoga outfit in the car while sitting on the highway. I really only mention this part of the story because I was so impressed with myself for being able to change into not only a sports bra, but leggings while operating a vehicle. Ladies, back me up here; Men, yes I occasionally encourage the “woman driver” stereotype.

Now that you hate me, don’t trust me in a car, or think I’m as impressive as I do (I hope it’s the third!), I will continue on with my journey through vinyasa yoga.

I can sum it up quite simply: sweat. A lot of it. Granted, I jumped right in to the “intermediate” class, but all of us were pretty gross by the end of the 75 minute session. I kept up with most of the moves, quickly realizing that I have zero upper body strength (which is the important thing for 60 of the 75 minutes), noting that I need to hit the weights at the gym more often as I inhaled, exhaled, inhaled deeper, exhaled longer…

I won’t bore you with the moves or the number of times I fell out of Tree Pose, but I will include the verse that the instructor ended with as we continued to remain laying on the floor on our backs:

Yoga isn’t about being bendy. It ‘s about showing up to your mat consistently not knowing what is going to happen and being okay with that. It’ s about rehabilitating yourself and not believing the “experts” when they say you are too injured or too old.  It’s about believing that you can do anything even if it’s the most scariest impossible thing you could ever dream of.  It’s about uncovering who your really are.  It’s about being kind to yourself so that you can then be kind to others.  Yoga is about discovering that most of the crazy thoughts in your head are not true.  It’s about being healthy without pushing yourself to your limit.  It’s about slowing down to get strong.  It’s about breathing and moving and smiling on the inside.  It’s the hardest thing I have ever done, but also the best.

A lot of that resonated incredibly deeply with me – beyond yoga or the mat (or the intense pain in my wrists that I’m going to hate myself for tomorrow), but within my life and even this blog! Not knowing what’s ahead of me, accepting that it’s going to happen, and getting stronger from it.

The instructor repeated throughout the entire class that “you did the hardest part, you walked through the door” which I can’t help but agree with.

I left class a sweaty mess, but felt so much lighter! Definitely a good August “healthy-ism” to get started on. It’s true what people say about leaving all their stress in the studio, because I felt great after it was over, even though 10 minutes before I was shaking and sweating.

Credits:

Vinyasa Yoga —- Make a change in your lifestyle and you’ll feel better.

Michelle, my lovely co-worker —- Walk through the door!

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