My Journey with Yoga/Establishing a Practice
Hello, friends. Let me start off by apologizing for being MIA. I feel terribly guilty about not having written in several weeks, especially since I made a commitment to myself (and all of you!) that I would deliver a piece directly to your inbox, weekly. And I've faltered on that commitment. Why? It's easy to blame it on pregnancy, but really I've just kind of allowed myself a bit of complacency. And while taking it easy(ier) and slowing down are generally things I promote (and they are very much recommended when one is with child), skipping my weekly newsletter makes me feel crummy and out-of-touch. So, I'm RE-committing here and now to providing you with a weekly dose of...fitness? Health? A (mindful) piece of my mind? Basically, all of the topics that this newsletter often covers.
Now, moving on, let's talk about yoga. As most of you know, though I am a certified yoga teacher, I do not teach yoga classes. I do, however, incorporate it into private sessions per request. Often times, if a client is interested, we will do a sort of dual session, the first half of which is devoted to strength & cardio conditioning, and then we'll spend the remaining 30-45 minutes in a vinyasa flow (or restorative sequence, as desired). This, to me, is the absolute best of both worlds, if one can find the time. Mind, body, and spirit are all "worked out," and clients generally report feeling "amazing" afterward.
I have been practicing yoga on and off since the age of twelve. I remember first teaching myself various poses from a Rodney Yee book my mom had picked up. I didn't know anything about connecting the breath to the pose, so suffice to say, there was no "flow" in those early days, but as a young dancer, holding static poses was nothing new to me, and felt, unlike most of ballet class, really good. But, growing up in rural Pennsylvania, there was not a yoga class to be found. So, I did my best with the Yee book and a couple of VHS tapes.
As a college student in New York City, I would drop in on the random yoga class with friends, but never really established a consistent practice back then. Truth be told, I was far too busy partying and exploring the city to establish much consistency in ANYTHING.
Cut to my mid-20's and I began to hit the mat a bit more frequently. I took advantage of the donation-based classes at Yoga to the People on St. Marks place regularly enough to warrant purchasing my own mat at one point. But still, I was a hot-and-cold yoga student; I would go consistently for a few weeks but then I would lose my drive, and my mat would begin to collect dust in the corner of my shoebox apartment.
It wasn't until I got sober at the age of 29 that I started to truly understand (and crave) the value of a consistent practice, both on and off the mat. All of the "partying" had progressed into something darker, and I had lost touch with my values and myself. (As The Postal Service sang, "It's not a party if it happens every night"...) So after sobering up, I started actively seeking out the things that made me feel truly good, and not just hedonistically pleasant for a fleeting moment. Yoga soon became one of those deeply satisfying practices that I filled my new sober-lifestyle with, and has progressed into something that my body and mind truly need on a regular basis. Unlike alcohol, yoga's progression in my life has been nothing but positive. And I can practice it anytime, anywhere. I tend to be a solo practicer, but also love taking classes when my schedule permits.
In pregnancy, I've found yoga to be a total necessity and an incredible release. As much as I love running, I am finding that my lower back does not always share the passion for pounding the pavement, nor does it always take kindly to weight training. Yoga, however, is always a safe bet these days, and thus, I come to my mat almost every day.
Developing a strong practice in anything takes time. And sometimes, that means years. I wasn't fully ready or able to understand the great benefits of this sacred practice when I first cracked open Mr. Yee's book, but nevertheless, the seed had been planted and I returned to the mat again and again (albeit sporadically) over the years, until a couple of years ago when I developed what I would consider a regular practice. My journey has paused, but it's never stopped. I'm excited to see where this continual progression takes me.
Are you on a wellness journey that you'd like to strengthen? What things can you do to take your journey to the next level? Drop me a line and we'll brainstorm together!