Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Newbie Yoga: One Cynical Millennial's Journey to Enlightment

When I was reading The Fringe Hours, I came to the realization that I had to give up certain hobbies to make way for the mastery of others. As a hobby collector with a curious soul, this was an extremely hard conclusion to come to. I had to really dress it up and make it feel worthwhile.

Telling myself that people can't possibly know me for all of these little minuscule things that I do, I found empowerment in choosing the things I was most proud to be known for. Things will change from season to season and year to year, I'm sure, but for now I've chosen to focus on: Writing, Books, and Yoga.

Newbie Yoga: One Cynical Millennial's Journey to Enlightment

Yoga is something that I have always been interested in, and after realizing it was my favorite workout in the cycle of exercises on the 21 Day Fix, I started to seriously consider making this my fitness "thing." I fail at nearly every other physical thing on the planet, but I knew from experience that Yoga can be as calm and gentle or as grueling and difficult as you need it to be. This spoke to my dynamic nature and my tendencies to follow my moods for instruction, so I felt capable of welcoming yoga to my life.

First, I tried to do a 30 minute DVD workout every single morning, but I failed - because I adore my mornings and want to spend them either watching my backyard wake up or lost in a book. I need to feel energized about a commitment rather than like it's another chore to cross off a checklist, so I didn't want to force myself into a method that was clearly making me miserable.

So the next thing we tried was a family tradition. It was only once a week, but shortly after our morning coffee on Sundays we would all do our 30 minutes of Yoga, followed by a big yogurt parfait. It was a fun little tradition we had going, but I then developed an unhealthy love of granola, and as the weather warmed up, our outdoor to do lists and party obligations grew and we let the tradition fall apart.

The story of an nonathletic skeptic starting Yoga from square one

Needing something a little bigger to really get me going, I decided to sign up for a Yoga class. It's something that I've always wanted to do, but whenever I brought it up to a potential Yoga buddy (and I did so for years) I was usually met with hesitation. I had enough of it myself that I let that insecurity win out for a long time. Interestingly enough, my mom was introduced to Yoga through a health seminar she'd been attending, and suddenly she was in search of Yoga buddies! So naturally, I jumped at the chance to join her.

And here's the thing.

I love that yoga is in my life, and I'm really happy with myself for actually making something healthy and physical dominate my list of top three focuses at the moment. That really goes against my nature, which makes me think of two things.

First, a quote I referenced in my review of The Desire Map:

“Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.” - W.B. Yeats

And second, something our Yoga instructor tells us in the middle of a difficult pose...

"Do what feels good, with just a little bit of discomfort - that's where you want to be."

In other words, we have to work within our given nature in order to be successful in anything - which means, of course, that it is crucial to know ourselves better and continuously pursue a deeper understanding. But we also have to lightly push our boundaries just a little here and there so we can discover what we are capable of, what we are okay with, and how we can grow while being true to ourselves.

Follow this self proclaimed lazy, cynical 30-something as she explores Yoga as an extreme newbie!

I have so many thoughts and stories to share with you as I explore Yoga and its related practices - gosh, it is so much bigger than downward dog than I ever could have imagined. Let me know if you're a Yoga Newbie, too, or how you overcame your hesitations to dive in!

Namaste ;)

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