Let’s just get this out of the way… I am not an athletic person.
I never have been. I wrote about body image here, but my thoughts in a nutshell are that I’ve always struggled with it, probably will always struggle with it, and exercise (and really sports in general) just “wasn’t my thing.” Especially yoga! I mean, I’m the most anxious and high strung person ever. Sitting in stillness for over an hour does not sound like fun to me.
Since moving abroad, I knew I needed to do something for myself to make myself feel good. (Also, let’s be honest, I wanted to lose some weight as well). I got really involved with some coworkers in joining a spin studio (fun, but expensive) and then joined a Chinese gym down the street (it works, but there’s no AC and people are always taking pictures of me. I’m not bragging, just being honest. #lifeinChina).
My friend Lisa goes to yoga 2-3 times a week, and had been asking me to go with her for a while. Finally, one day I decided to just go. She had a free pass so there would literally be no loss to me. I was hooked. I had done yoga before (and even dabbled into hot yoga for a little bit) but hadn’t really felt inspired or changed. I loved how the instructor actually talked to the class, and the ten minutes before class that were spent just sitting on my mat and drinking tea. The community at the yoga studio was amazing. I didn’t feel judged or stupid for being in my Target workout pants. I felt excited and happy because I knew I’m going to do something good for my body. I immediately signed up for a one month pass, and have been hooked ever since.
Part of it is mental, too. Yoga is challenging, but whenever I hit a milestone or hold a pose for a while, I just want to do a happy dance! This past Sunday, I did my first ever headstand! I can not even tell you how excited I was. It felt so good to have been physically working towards something for over two months and to finally nail it? Priceless.
I don’t see myself stopping yoga anytime soon. It’s become such a major part of my routine the past few months, and I’m excited to see how my practice grows! Are you a yogi?
PS- If you’re in Shanghai, I couldn’t recommend Yoga Garden more! 🙂