I remember the first time I was invited to yoga; I was in college, a freshman and girls in my dorm where headed to a class on campus.
I scoffed at their invitation. I knew yoga would be too easy for me; I was an athlete.
Active my whole life, I played varsity softball, cross country, and lacrosse. I spent summers hiking, white water rafting, and rock climbing. My heart craved adventure, adrenaline, something I knew yoga could never offer me.
Yoga was for old people. I had this image in my head of the YMCA holding gentle yoga for senior citizens; it was a stretching class nothing else. I soon forgot all about yoga. My life became full with marriage, children, and a career—soon it was an ever expanding schedule of events.
I was then approached again with the idea of yoga class. Some co-workers invited me to an evening class, and although yoga still held no appeal for me, I went for one reason—a time to relax with friends. I went into yoga that night with this vision that I would chill during the class, maybe do an easy stretch or two, and try not to show off how athletic I was. I knew without a doubt yoga would bore me; my only worry was lasting the 90 minute class without dozing off.
Well I didn’t doze off. I did however spend that first class in child’s pose 90 percent of the time. The other 10 percent was when my damaged pride tried and failed to keep up with the 80 year old lady next to me. To put it bluntly, yoga kicked my ass that night. It was hard physically, emotionally, I was drained, oh, and I was also hooked. Yoga soon became my obsession, it centered me in a way nothing ever had before. I found myself able to de-stress and focus more within when on my yoga mat.
Soon yoga became a lifestyle change, a career goal. and something I truly love. Today when I say I practice yoga, I see people scoff—those who say they are real athletes and will wait for yoga till they are older and less fit.
I understand their scorn. I once had the same misinformed belief. Yet once you embark on the journey that is yoga, you realize it is so much more than just a practice: it’s meditative, and contemplative, and it is truly a personal journey. Yoga means something different to all those that practice it.
What yoga isn’t, is easy. To get on that mat means to dive into your deepest self; it means coming face-to-face with your demons, and conquering them.
Yoga is hardcore physically, mentally, and (always) emotionally for me.
Yet yoga is also worth it. It’s worth the time it takes to get that pose, the breath it takes to endure, and the meditation it takes to reflect.
Author: Michele Genzardi
Editor: Travis May