life with yoga

Amy over at Coffee & Sunshine wrote this post recently about yoga. It was the perfect timing for me to read, as I’ve just started to get (back) into yoga.

In college, I decided to try a yoga class at my university’s gym. I think it was free for students, and I can’t recall how long the class lasted – a few weeks or a few months, something like that. I’d never done yoga in my life and had no idea what to expect, but by the time the class was over, although my body hadn’t drastically changed I at least had better posture. I walked taller and felt better, and I liked that.

But then I stopped being a student and with that, stopped doing yoga. I’ve done plenty of other workouts since then, and I’ve dabbled here and there in yoga. There were a few sessions of outdoor yoga a few summers ago, and there was my brief stint with hot yoga. I tried it a few times, but as it turns out, the disclaimer (something about feeling sad and/or angry during class) was true. I ended up crying because the instructor publicly called me out for doing some arm twisty thing wrong; I have issues with left vs. right and spatial awareness and mirroring what I see in front of me, so I couldn’t get it right. And I cried.

But aside from the tears, I’ve never felt that yoga was much of a workout. I never felt sore afterwards and it certainly wasn’t getting my heart rate up. I’m pretty sure I’ve changed my mind on that.

Months ago, I bought a LivingSocial deal for a yoga studio near my apartment and, as these things go, promptly forgot about it. On the cusp of its expiration I realized I needed to redeem it and suddenly I’m in love with yoga.

After the first class, I was sore – as if I’d done a “real” workout. And I felt good. I’ve now gone to a total of six classes and each one felt as if it had some sort of impact on my body. I love that I don’t (usually) get sweaty and I love that yoga doesn’t require me to jump around and do cardio. I love that I can feel my body getting stronger, that I notice a difference in my ability to do certain poses. I love that the teachers at this new studio don’t call me out publicly when I need to adjust something in a pose.

The sad thing, however, is that after my surgery, I may never be able to do yoga again. Everyone is different and I’m hoping and praying I end up like the people who recover and get back into physical exercise. But there are people who can never use their arms for much again, people who can exercise as long as it doesn’t require arm or chest strength. I hate that I’ve gotten into yoga right before I may have to give it up forever.

As depressing as that thought is, I’m hoping that the strength I build will help my eventual recovery. And I hope that, once recovered, I can get back in the game as soon as possible.

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