I’m going to come right out and say it—I’m just not that into yoga.
(Collective gasp from yoga lovers around the globe.)
I really want to like yoga. I feel like I should like yoga (which, on a side note, is probably one of the reasons for my resistance). But, I don’t.
My absence of enthusiasm and fist-pumping yoga joy is not for lack of trying or commitment. Quite the opposite. I’m the friend that keeps making one last-ditch attempt (read: can’t let it go) to salvage the relationship.
Through my late teens and early twenties I virtuously attended a weekly yoga practice at my local gym. The only thing that kept me going was the Body Combat class that immediately followed. I could unleash my lack-of-zen-induced-frustrations in a highly energetic martial arts workout.
Then 10-years-ago I got really sick. Recovery has been long, slow and incredibly painful (quite literally). Yoga became just one more item on a long list of activities beyond my physical capabilities.
I wasn’t immediately bothered by the fact that yoga was off-limits to me. Not at all unexpected, given I have just outlined my disinterest in the practice.
But, with the passing of time, something shifted. You know the old saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side?” Well, the yoga grass started looking pretty green to me!
Yoga was suddenly super attractive because it was beyond my reach. I had an unwavering urge to perform a sun salutation, the cobra pose—anything that seemed remotely yoga-esque would have been fine. Oh, how the tide turned!
Fast forward to the beginning of 2014. I came across a flyer advertising yoga for pain management—restorative yoga—classes in my local area.
I rejoiced. The class was exactly what I was looking for—the practice of gentle movement and stillness with the aid of props (yay to blankets, bolsters, pillows, blocks and feet straps) to make oneself more comfortable.
I signed up for the introductory workshop which then morphed into a weekly hour-and-a-half class.
The longest one-and-a-half hours of my life. On repeat. Every week.
And yet I keep going back.
I know, I know, I’m a sucker for punishment, but trust me, there is a method to my madness!
I keep showing up for two reasons:
1. I’m still pretty limited, mobility-wise, with the exercise options available to me. So I tend to cling to the activities that work within the boundaries of my physical limitations.
2. I can appreciate yoga for the benefits it offers me.
Not the comes-with-the-yoga-territory benefits of improved flexibility, better strength and clarity of mind. That goes without saying. No, my benefits are less zen and more, well, I don’t want to say superficial (although the first one in the list probably is) perhaps unique-to-the-individual is the more appropriate terminology.
1. The fashion. Thank you Lululemon, you are my savior!
The cute, vibrant, stretchy yoga pants—the casual-but-cool yoga tanks and tops.
I’m the epitome of the phrases “inactive-activewear” and “likes to look good while not exercising.” I could quite happily flit around in yoga gear and skip the actual yoga part.
2. The sense of community my yoga class has fostered. The connection with people who have a common point of reference—who understand body limitations and chronic pain. We have been able to support each other and I’ve made some beautiful friendships with some lovely women.
3. The class starts and ends with Savasana, the final relax pose. Or, as I like to call it, “adult nap time.”
I fully understand that Savasana is anything but glorified adult nap time. Deep relaxation with a calm and focused mind, yes. Sleep, no.
But wrapped up in my blanket, pillow under my head, lying on a double-padded yoga mat in a restorative yoga class—what else is a girl to do but sleep?
And for someone who is chronically fatigued and perpetually sleep deprived, the fact that I am able to sleep makes the class worth it’s weight in gold.
Hmmm, looks like I might be into yoga after all!