I’ve tried tons of stay-fit methods, and never really found one that worked for me. I felt too silly at jazzercise, too old at hip-hop class, too young at water ballet. I’ve just never been able to find the perfect fit. Never, that is, until I found yoga. Let’s just say, I will never go back to any of my earlier methods.
I have been doing yoga for about five years now. When I first heard about it a few years back, I was a skeptic. I thought what many skeptics do- it’s for hippies, I’m not flexible enough, I’m not a spiritual person, etc. Finally, I sucked it up, put all those misgivings out of mind, and went to a class with one of my friends. Five years later, I’m an advocate. I turned from my old ways as a disbeliever and never looked back.
On the way to the class, I was preparing myself to feel incredibly out of place. 100-pound women were dancing around my head in matching leotards with perfectly secured ballerina buns on the tops of their heads. They were tucking their legs behind their necks and standing on their heads. I was terrified. I was 140 pounds, donning a pair of old tennis shoes and a messy ponytail. I was intimidated before I even stepped foot in the studio.
Upon entering in the studio, I felt almost immediately at ease. The room was full of women of various shapes and sizes, laughing and joking and stretching to the tune of Caribbean music in the background. I only saw one perfectly secured ballerina bun. When my friend and I walked in we were greeted warmly by all of the other women. Some waved from across the room; others came up and exchanged hugs with us. I was taken in as one of them when I had convinced myself on the car ride over that I would be ostracized as the new girl. I finally believed my friend who tried her best to convince me on the drive over that these women were some of the nicest she’d ever met. She kept on using the word “centered”. Whatever that meant.
Either way, I exchanged greetings with these friendly women and they moved their mats to the side to make room for us. I don’t remember ever feeling so welcomed in a room of complete strangers. The instructor took to the front of the room and I felt my nerves creeping back in a little bit. She led us into some warm-up steps and I felt my anxiety start to dissipate. I remember feeling shocked at the ease that began to replace my nervousness.
As inexperienced as I was, I did not feel half as awkward as I thought I might. I did the best I could and the instructor’s support was doing wonders for me. I felt comfortable with my own ability (or lack of at the time), feeling an inner peace in knowing I might actually be able to stick with this and improve. After my first time at so many other classes, I remember never wanting to look back. Tennis had always left me feeling defeated, pole dancing made every muscle ache for weeks, and salsa dancing threw my lack of coordination in my face. Yoga was different. I left feeling fresh and new and excited for the next class.
Before I knew it, I was a regular at the yoga class. I progressed faster than I have ever progressed in anything before. I felt great. I had finally found the class I had wanted and needed for so long. It might sound silly, but yoga changed my life. I am a fitter, happier version of myself. It did not take long for me to understand what my friend meant when she kept using that word on the way to my first yoga class-centered.