The 5 Most Important Things I’m Learning From Yoga

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Not sure who to credit for this awesome cartoon making the rounds, let me know if you do! 

The first time I tried yoga I was 17, worked at a gym, and thought yoga was a place for flatulent old people. My sister and I decided to give it a go anyway and ended up confirming my suspicion: we spent 45 minutes stifling hysterical laughter caused by the audible farts of seniors. A fantastic ab workout, but not something I ever wanted to do again!

As the years went on my view of yoga remained the same, I tried a couple more classes at the Y but it just wasn’t my thing. And then surprisingly, my husband (boyfriend at the time) thought it would be fun for us to do yoga together.

Mike’s parents had taken him to a hot yoga class (probably in hopes of finding him a nice yogi wife) and he loved it. After some convincing, he persuaded me to try a class with him. It was so different than my first yoga experience, it was a real workout and a nice relaxation for my mind.

From there I ventured to our local yoga studio. It took a little bit of bravery but eventually I tried all of the classes they offered and learned that classes can range from virtually catatonic to the hardest workout of your life. No matter which class I took – Hatha, Flow, Freestyle Friday – the lessons of the class remained the same:

  1. Be present
    Don’t think about what happened before you got here or what is to come, focus on the now and be in the moment.
  2. Every day is different
    Don’t be so hard on yourself. Some days you are capable of more challenging feats than others. It’s nothing to be annoyed about, it’s life.
  3. Honour your body
    We are all unique including the limitations of our bodies. Put your ego aside and follow what is right for you, not what you wish you could do.
  4. Plant the seed
    When you face a challenge that seems impossible, instead of telling yourself you can’t do it, plant the seed that perhaps you will be able to in the future.
  5. Thank yourself for showing up
    It may seem small but making a commitment to yourself and following through should be celebrated. You did it!

After coming back from my accidental fitness hiatus, it is more clear to me than ever that these messages are the reason I love yoga the most. In a yoga class, more than any other fitness class I have taken, you are in control and most importantly, you are enough. 

If you are interested in trying your hand at yoga, my go to studios in Edmonton are Bliss YogaSpa and Navina Yoga which just opened this fall. Both studios have an amazing atmosphere and fantastic instructors. Enjoy!

Coming back, when you’ve let yourself go.

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Oh hey old friends!

I’m writing to you from a place I have been before. I’m writing to you because maybe, just maybe you’ve been here too. I’m writing to you because quite frankly, I need a bit of a kick in the ass. Here we go…

I had the best summer. A little bit stressful, a little bit busy, but in the end, a great time was had. I travelled, I partied, I enjoyed the hell out of my new backyard. But what I didn’t do… was yoga, spin or barre. Like… at all. 

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but before summer hit I was seriously killing it (toot-toot). I was going to spin or barre at lunch and finishing the night off with some yoga. I felt A-M-A-Z-I-N-G and began to view my body more by what it could do and less by what it looked like. I felt strong and it was empowering. I was doing poses in yoga I didn’t even think were physically possible!

It was a great place to be, but one day I just… stopped. I let the lure of sunshine, Netflix and wine on the deck carry me away. Four months of bliss but now I am here: ready to get back at it and absolutely terrified. It’s easy to workout when you are already fit. It’s hard to face the music and realize your body isn’t capable of what it once was and know that it’s your own damn fault.

Anyone who has been here before knows that the hardest part is getting up, driving there and walking through those doors. It’s nerve-racking. Like first date, nerve-racking. You know it’s either going to be great or terrible, there’s rarely an in-between. If you’re competitive with yourself like I am, the whole time you’re going to be comparing your current self to the fit, ass kicking version of you from before.

You’ll be frustrated when poses that used to be restful are now a shocking amount of work. You’ll be embarrassed when the weights you pick up are much lighter than before and still seem like torture. You’ll be annoyed when the instructor pushes you harder and counts out those last thirty seconds in the slowest.countdown.ever. “That was WAY more than thirty seconds you bastard, we know how to count,” you’ll think in a fit of blind rage. And then the hour will be up and you’ll realize that you did it, you survived. It might not have been pretty but you did it.

On Friday, I dragged my nervous self back to spin and I survived. Yes, I was way worse than before, yes I contemplated cancelling the class about 100 times before I actually went, and yes I felt discouraged while I was doing it. But when it was done? I felt A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

I’m not telling you this to dig for compliments, I’m telling you this because I’m going to need this reminder and you might to. It’s easy to feel good when you are doing all the right things, it’s harder when you’re clawing your way back. Working out, spin, yoga, barre, running, whatever your thing is: getting it back won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. That incredible feeling once you’ve accomplished even just that first class back, is your glimmer of hope.

Keep going, don’t stop. We don’t want to be back here again! And if you reeeeeally need to, hit up DQ afterwards, to remind yourself that after all, you do need balance. 😉