Feel Good Friday: How I Found Yoga

Happy Friday!

If you didn’t already know, I’m into yoga and reaping its many benefits, but my love affair with the practice hasn’t always been this steady or long-term.

In fact, it’s been just about a year+ now that I’ve been practicing such a consistent and cozy relationship with the exercise.

I’ll take you back…

I distinctly remember my first yoga class back in high school. I was 17-years-old and I took a vinyasa flow class at Central Mass Yoga Institute just a few miles from home. I remember walking in alone and not really knowing what I was getting myself into, but always hearing how healing yoga could be. The other distinct memory I still have is the calming therapeutic scent that filled the room—a scent I often try to nail down to this day but still can’t quite find it anywhere else.

I had to have been the youngest participant in the class but to me, it was just amazing to see people from all walks of life partake in one practice together. After a couple of months attending the class, I drifted away from it for no particular reason. Maybe it was school work… or it could have been the price tag. Because, well, if you didn’t know… yoga can be pricey if you aren’t a home-practicer.

From there, I moved in and out of the practice during college and eventually found my way to Metrowest Yoga, a beautiful space in Westborough, MA that offered heavenly, super-stretchy classes, as well as an intimate mother-daughter run studio in my hometown. Together, these classes became my spiritual sanctuaries.

But, then again… even through college, the exercise just never stuck for me. Rather, I never stuck with it. And, you know, I just don’t know why that second time around. Maybe I wasn’t ready to make it a part of my lifestyle, maybe I was too self-conscious in class, or maybe I just couldn’t find the right class type for me. Whatever it was, I always felt that I wanted to get back into yoga—for good.

yoga

Out here in California, fitness is a huge part of many people’s lives. People are outside more, eating healthier, and overall just more mindful about living well. I think that’s what contributed to me making yoga a consistent part of my routine.

For the past year and a half, I’ve found myself loving vinyasa  flow, sculpt, sweat, and chill yoga classes at One Down Dog. I think it just comes back to the studio’s sense of community that I adore. Plus, I also feel that I’m in a point in my life where yoga’s benefits are essential to my happiness. It was also over the past year that I began to realize that every hour of yoga was worth whatever price tag it was stamped with, because… it was soul food.

You know, I’m okay with the fact that it’s taken me years to get here. I appreciate yoga more now. I reap its benefits wholly and I’m able to walk away from each class with a sense of clarity that maybe I wasn’t able to at 17. I’m in a different place now—a place where I need to practice for me and yoga’s no longer a competition, but a journey.

Did you know yoga means “to yoke” or unite? Guys, that’s what it’s all about. If you’re looking to unite with yourself and a community of people, yoga just might be for you, too….

A little advice from an on-again-off-again-here-to-stay yogi:
If you’ve never tried yoga or are new to it, I would recommend starting slow with either a beginner’s or restorative class. This is where you’ll learn the basics, move more slowly through poses, and won’t be intimidated by any 10+ year yogis (which you really shouldn’t be anyway!) From there, you can start to flow more with a vinyasa or astanga class—or even try a class that pumps up the temperature a bit to encourage more cardio movement.

Whatever you’re seeking, there is a yoga class for you out there.

If you take a class or have been practicing for some time, tell me all about it!
Ari

Other “Feel Good Friday” Posts:
– How To Boost Your Mood In 5 Easy Steps
– What 29-Year-Old Me Would Tell My 16-Year-Old Self

 

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