On this first day after completing a Spring challenge at Kula Yoga where I went to 20 classes in 30 days, I find myself wanting more. Yes, I have a type A personality so I like challenges, and yes, I have an “addictive” personality so I get addicted to activities. But this yoga thing. It goes deeper than all that.
I saw this quote along with a beautiful picture of a yogi in a fabulous pose on a friend’s Pinterest page. I know, don’t get me started on Pinterest. So here’s the quote:
“Sometimes when I go to a yoga class, I feel a little silly. It’s usually a room full of rich white people, and it reminds me of yoga’s roots and how far it’s veered. I am happy people in other cultures are practicing what has the potential to be such a healthy and spiritual practice, but I can’t help but think it disrespectful on a certain level. ” – Author Unknown
When I first read that quote I was very offended by it. It actually stayed with me for a few days (and as it turns out since I am including it in this post, it has stayed with me for a while). It angered, offended, and festered. And then I realized that this person is just different than I am. Me, I’d stand on the rooftops and tell everyone I know and don’t know about how amazing yoga is. Rooftops don’t get very tall here in suburbia so I turn to this blog post and facebook instead. One of the things I loved about experiencing this Spring Challenge at Kula was watching other people have personal victories (she did a handstand for the first time!), and seeing more and more people in classes each day. More people were finding and loving yoga. Or falling back into love with it after life got in the way and made them too busy.
So here are the 5 reasons you should try yoga at a yoga studio. Stay with me for the whole list, because #5 is the very best reason of all.
1. Yoga in a studio ain’t your mama’s 90’s yoga VHS tape.
The beauty of being guided by a live real human being through your practice is that they seem to always know just what you needed to hear that day. And the assists. Ahhhhhh, the assists. That point when you think you just can’t get any deeper in a pose and a slight touch and adjustment from the instructor just changes your world. I have done those VHS tapes my friend, and hated them. Yoga in a studio is different.
2. You gain flexibility from going to yoga, you don’t have to be flexible to start.
In my entire childhood and teenager years, I can’t remember being able to do the “sit and reach” test in PE class comfortably. Now, I am touching the hell out of my feet in a forward fold. Yeah baby.
3. The variety of classes.
Sure, you’ve probably heard of a typical flow class that includes Warrior 2 and all that wonderful jazz. But have you been to an Aromatherapy Yin class? Um, hello, you end the class with a luxurious oil foot rub. Have you ever seen an aerial yoga class? I can do inversions in the silk that I can’t do on the floor. It is truly incredible and powerful stuff. Meditation class? Okay, this one was more of a nap-time for me, but some folks adore it. My little 2 year old loves Storytime Yoga and regularly walks around saying “om”.
4. It is for everyone.
There are men, college students, beginners, seniors, and everyone in between in every class. This isn’t the place for judging, people, it is the place of acceptance. The teachers regularly talk about how today your body might be different than yesterday, and hell, your left side might have the flexibility of a 15 year old today while your right side is 90. It is all about you and your experience that day on the mat. That’s it.
5. It’s about what your body can do, not what it looks like.
As a nerdy and overweight teen, I struggled with my body image. Although I wonder which one of those came first – low self-esteem or the overweight part? Regardless, I have always been the “does this make me look fat” person. I tried it all folks – Weight Watchers, P90X, and every other diet and exercise plan – with some modicum of success but still always self-conscious. Then, I got pregnant. And for the first time in my entire life, I loved my body and felt beautiful and strong every second. And in the two years since I had my son, my self esteem and self confidence hasn’t been as strong as when I was pregnant but it’s definitely better. But you know what really set that in concrete for me? Yoga. This wonderful body of mine is so strong and capable of amazing things. At least once a week I have an “aha” moment in class where I can do a pose deeper or feel strong enough to attempt a pose I haven’t done before (and sometimes nail it which is awesome but not necessary). Our bodies are amazing things. These crazy things hold us up, move us forward, stand us back up when we fall, and can even be inverted!