From Hating Yoga To Loving Yoga
“Yoga is managing agitation.” When a teacher this summer said that during class, it clicked. I went from hating yoga to loving yoga.
For years I hated yoga — it was slow, boring, my mind would race during class, I was always exhaling when I was supposed to be inhaling, I had no balance, I couldn’t sit still.
I couldn’t sit with myself, with the agitation. CHAARG was my intro to loving yoga, + I didn’t keep up with it. I wanted a workout — to run to lift to sweat. So I gave up.
On my second year of competing, I gave yoga another try. It was my New Year’s Resolution to do yoga at least once a week for my entire prep. I did it + to my surprise I was much calmer + relaxed… but I still hated yoga.
I was forced to do yoga this year. It was the only workout I was allowed to do, that I could practice safely, that didn’t leave me in pain. For the last 6 months I have done yoga 2 or 3 times a week + I feel like something is missing if I miss a class.
I believe in doing stuff you hate. If you never do the things that you don’t like or you’re not good at, you will never get better. You will never expand your knowledge + you will never know if you actually hate something. You might just hate it because it is hard.
I hated yoga because I couldn’t manage the agitation off the mat — let alone on it. I couldn’t inhale + exhale off the mat [let alone on it]. I didn’t want to learn new things off the mat [let alone on it]. I wasn’t open to new things off the mat or on the mat.
Getting sick changed everything. My body changed, my mindset changed + I would do anything to feel better. That forced me to slow down + cut a lot of things out of my life. I needed to rest, breathe, eliminate food from my diet + give my body a break. Once I was able to open my mind + slow down I was able to utilize everything that yoga had to offer.
It was also a chance to unplug, unlike other forms of fitness, where I could have access to my phone, change the music, respond to DM’s + answer messages I was actually able to unplug. I still struggle at the beginning of class to be present, but it is better than when I started practicing [when I couldn’t unplug at all]. I would have anxiety that my phone was in the other room with unread messages + a to-do list a mile long. Now I know that it can wait + it will.
I also had to stop playing the comparison game. I was new to yoga + it was hard + I was really frustrated every time I couldn’t hold a pose, get into a pose or had to take a child’s pose. Yes, you’re in a class, but every practice is truly your own. Remember that, ++ what you can or can not do on that specific day makes your practice yours. There is no judgement.
Being able to sit with my thoughts became a workout, it was hard. I found classes that challenged me physically + mentally. Not every class I go to is the same. It’s been a journey but I finally find myself loving yoga.
Experiment. Give different teachers, times + workshops a chance.
Give yourself a chance.
- When is the last time you sat with your thoughts + let them go?
- When is the last time you took a deep breath?
- When is the last time you stretched + touched your body?
- When is the last time you shut off + unplugged?
If it has been a while, give yoga a chance. Or multiple chances!