Wednesday, February 20, 2019

15 Facts About My Yoga Practice

I'm closing in on three years of a dedicated yoga practice, and it's been so cool to evolve with it (and let it evolve with me). I call myself a novice yogi - knowing that there's A TON I don't know and that I'm not capable of, but feeling like I have a special connection with it even so.

I value yoga so, so much. It's never going to be my whole life, and I will probably never be capable of those wild acrobatic poses, but that's just because I know exactly what yoga is for ME. I looked at yoga from the outside for many years, having my own uneducated (but intrigued) opinions of it. It's nothing like I expected. And in case the idea intimidates you as much as it excites you, I thought I'd share with you some of the random truths I've noticed in my own yoga journey.

15 Facts About My Yoga Practice (that might help you start your own) |

I first tried yoga in 2004.

I bought the cheapest DVD I could find because a co-worker and I were going to the gym together and she recommended I get yoga for stretching at home. I didn't really take to it then, but I always wished I could look as graceful as the instructor did when she was in the poses.

An exercise regimen finally brought me & yoga together.

It was actually during the 21 Day Fix that I finally fell for yoga. It was a gift every Sunday, to have such a great, relaxing workout after all the tough days before and after it. I noticed that there was something about corpse pose for me during this, despite staying in it for a terribly short amount of time. Matt used to make fun of my favorite part being the "do nothing" part, but you'll see shortly that there was more to it than that.

We once had a "yoga & yogurt" family tradition.

Matt's been taking Tae Kwon Do for years, and he liked doing my yoga days with me during the fix. Then of course, the kids would join in since we were both doing it. He proposed that we do family yoga every weekend, and we tied it with sharing yogurt parfaits when we were finished. We looked forward to it every week!

I manifested my perfect yoga instructor.

I was really loving yoga and feeling this intense pull to it, but I knew that one DVD workout a week was only going to take me so far. I wanted more, but didn't want to keep buying DVDs and hope that one would stick. I was nervous about trying any random class, too, because I wanted the slower, more intentional kind of yoga, and I needed an instructor that wasn't obsessed with flying through poses and doing acrobatics but would care more about connecting with their students. I waited 2 years, asking everyone I could think of to try a yoga class with me. One day, my mom was introduced to someone through a healthy eating class and invited me to come along on a meditation workshop to get to know her. INSTANTLY hooked! I've been taking her classes for close to 3 years now.

I didn't know there were ethical practices in yoga.

I think this is pretty typical with our Western view of what yoga means. Most people assume that you're twisting your body into a pretzel and doing a million headstands. I knew there was more to it, but I didn't know how much more. Or that the actual physical practice of yoga is just one piece of the puzzle.

The spiritual side of yoga was the catalyst to a major reality shift in my life.

Maybe it was really the fact that I was digging into a whole lot of things at the same time, but being part of an actual practice in wellness and spirituality shifted the way I approached and viewed everything. It was like an instant up-level that there's no going back from. While a lot of it is unrelated, most of my woo-woo interests started on my yoga mat.

I am most at home in Savasana.

And I don't just mean that in my yoga practice. There's something about an intentional corpse pose that instantly strikes a chord with me. My entire body settles down, and I am reminded that I am just using it temporarily. When I lay there long enough, I can actually feel myself "wearing" my body, which probably sounds crazy...but get into an intentional corpse pose during reiki, and you'll feel what I mean.

My favorite pose is tree pose.

I'm drawn to balance poses, even though I can sometimes be terrible at them. It all depends on my mood, my energy, and the environment. Typically, though, these are my favorite poses to spend time in. And, here's a weird fact about me: I naturally find myself in tree pose all the time! If I'm doing something like washing dishes, making dinner, standing in a line, talking to someone when they're visiting or I'm visiting them.....suddenly I notice I'm in tree pose (just the legs part of the pose, my hands are usually busy). My body is just happy there!

I can't practice yoga until after I've brushed my teeth.

Okay, this is a weird one, but it's true. Whether I'm practicing at home or heading out for a class, I have to brush my teeth first. I've asked myself why I do this, and I think it's because yoga is such an internal practice, and you go so deeply inside yourself, and well...your mouth is an internal part of your awareness. If it's not clean, it bothers me the entire time.

I hate hot yoga.

I went to a workshop once in a borrowed studio that normally offers hot yoga classes. They would only let my instructor turn the thermostat down to a certain temperature because there wouldn't have been enough time to heat it back up for their own classes after. I was dyyyying, and it wasn't even as hot as hot yoga usually is. I just can't breathe in heat like that, and I'm already kind of naturally warm, so I felt like I was going to pass out a few times!

I've brought almost all of my closest friends to a class with me.

I just feel like everyone should have yoga in their life, especially with my amazing instructor. I just have to share it!

I can't get my heels on the ground in down dog.

I know it's not required, and poses look different on every one, but this one has become a little bit of a joke between me and my instructor. I also can't reach my toes if I raise my leg out to the side. I blame it all on my arms not being long enough. But, it's a goal of mine to be able to do it at least lamely someday, so I focus on it a little every single practice.

My most most hated pose is chair pose.

I normally like poses that involve the legs being strong, but there's something about this one that just makes me feel all kinds of antsy. I'll do it...but I'm not happy about it! lol

In my opinion, yoga + the outdoors are best friends.

The very first yoga studio where my instructor taught had a great view - outside of the long windows were trees and leaves and plants. The studio was on the second floor, too, so it was all at eye-level. Whether there was sunshine, rain, or a breeze going on, looking at the trees always helped me get in the zone. And often, after I leave class, I crave time outside to take a walk or watch the sunset. I also really like practicing outside in the summer. Tying the outdoors to my practice makes me love it so much more!

My practice is always changing.

After years of practice (not always daily, but weekly+), I started to notice all of these things I've listed, but also that I had some patterns in how I practice. I love big, tricky, expansive yoga in the warm months. This is when I want to be pushed through harder poses, spend more time in my practice, and really dig into the physical aspects of yoga. In the colder months, I like to slow it down, keep it smaller and cozy, and focus a lot more on the internal side of yoga. I love a dark, candle-lit room with a short self-lovey practice and lots of rest at the end in winter. I used to fight against these patterns, but once I accepted them I felt way more connected to and relaxed about yoga. It's okay to design your practice to be exactly what you need!

If you practice, do you share any of these with me?  Do you have any yoga quirks? Leave it in the comments!! Namaste, xo

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