*Please be aware that there will be some stream-of-consciousness-word-vomit in this post…thanks in advance for sticking with me! Also you getta see some goofy photos of me doing yoga, PC: @emmy._.23 on IG*
When I was in high school, I hated doing yoga in gym class. Inevitably, the tough, soccer/wrestling teacher would realize we couldn’t just do kickball or pump iron and would occasionally deviate from the typical gym class syllabus with a yoga day. We’d all get some sus mat out of the equipment closet, while he’d wheel out the TV trolley and put on some tape of a pretty, but basic blonde lady in her 40s (or an old Asian man…there was no in between) who would lead us through flows as they practice on the side of a cliff.
It wasn’t fun, and of course, all the bro-y guys in class would snicker and complain the whole time while us girls were even more subconscious then we already were in gym class.
Fast forward to my second year of college. I went through a rough breakup and was heavily leaning on my friends. With one, we’d have wine and movie nights. With another, we’d hang out, complain about boys, and try to buy raw cookie dough from Insomnia Cookies (cravings are rough…also they wouldn’t let us, even though we offered to pay!). One day, raw-cookie-dough friend said that I should come along with her to a yoga class offered at the campus rec. I’ll admit, I was a little weary, but having always been active and knowing the benefits of physical activity, I agreed.
And I really enjoyed it! Shocker…
We weren’t always able to go together, so I started going by myself, even buying a rec pass so I could go to any class whenever. I definitely used my money’s worth, but between my immune system taking a vacation in college and falling into a new relationship on top of my busy class/work schedule, I would only go maybe once or twice a week.
I wanted to go more, but it was hard for me to mentally make time for myself to practice.
Fast forward a couple more years: COVID hit. I know it’s been rough for everyone, but um, well especially here in the states where we can’t seem to get our crap together, it’s been a lil’ extra rough. I was bored, I was lonely (hello heartbreak plus quarantine…), and even though I had to work remotely, I still had wayyy too much time on my hands. I know, I’m a writer, I should be working more on my WIP, but when you’re in a rocky headspace, everything’s hard.
So, I tried to go back to yoga. I now had a mat thanks to a thoughtful Christmas gift, so with that mat, I scoured YouTube to find videos. Let’s just say it took a while to find a teacher I actually liked (I found one cockney-accented teacher and it was so hard to find zen, ohmygosh… If you’re interested, my favorite teacher’s channel is Yoga with Kassandra!)
Guys, it was hard. I was out of practice, my dogs (and sometimes sister) would bust in at random times, I didn’t have all the props (thanks Gaiam for hooking me up finally), and even though I did really well for a week, there was a day I almost completely spaced!
As an aside, a while ago, I read AstroPoets: Your Guides to the Zodiac, and there was a particular part that popped into my head the day I nearly missed my week-long-daily flow: At first we started an astrology Twitter called Fire Signs 4 Life (because being a fire sign [hey! that’s me!] is such a glorious struggle). After a few weeks of tweeting, we were bored. That’s really how fire signs work: getting high on possibility, a lot of energy and a short attention span.
That’s 10000% me–honestly, I’m surprised I get out a book review every week. I mean, this is the third iteration of this site… But I worried that this same energy (or lack thereof) would affect my yoga now like it did in the past! I was afraid that I’d screw up something that actually made me feel good by missing a day and have the attitude of “welp, guess I need to find a new starting point, no point picking it up until then” block my path, which has totally happened before. It was awful!
But I powered through. Maybe I did almost skip a day because I was busy or tired, but then I’d make myself do a pre-bedtime flow, in part to click the box and in part because I realized that yoga did make me feel better…physically and emotionally. It was especially helpful when I finally read The Yogi Code, which opened my eyes more to the yogic path. (I’m not really on it, but I’m like, on the little side road next to it.) I realized that it’s so much more than the shapes and stretches–it’s the breathing, the mindfulness…
I was doing soooo well, and then I got sick. I’ll spare you the details of my stomach bug, but let’s just say that I was in the bathroom a lot. This thing wiped me out–I was tired, I felt shitty, I stopped doing my morning walks and I almost stopped doing yoga. There would be days in a row where I’d either just do the little pre-bedtime flow or where a sudden sickly feeling would send me running away from my mat and toward the bathroom. It was rough. But, I pushed through again.
I can’t say that I’ve learned anything terribly deep about making it through 150 days of yoga. I can’t even say that I’ve honestly accomplished a whole lot–I still have (slightly less pathetic) noodle arms while doing the chaturanga and my heels don’t quite meet the floor in downward dog (damn calves), but I’m so much closer than I was five-ish months ago. I still have a little trouble quieting my mind long enough to meditate, but I have learned that that’s okay, that that’s part of the whole meditation shtick–to observe the thoughts and let them go.
It’s not like I was a super anxious person before doing yoga, and I totally get that it isn’t for everyone, that it won’t work for everyone. But I do think it’s helped me be a little more open in general–physically (gotta get flexible) and mentally–and perhaps a little more mindful, a tad stronger, and somewhat more disciplined. I don’t think straight 150 days of doing yoga has made any major changes in my life, but I do think it’s shown me that I’m not stuck with having a “short attention span” and that if I actually put in that effort, a lot of cool, little things might come of it.
That’s all I’ve got for now, thanks for sticking with me! XO