Yoga is one of those trends I never really got in to. I had done the odd class here and there, but just never enjoyed the experience until I was living out of suitcase and found the IG yoga community. In a previous post, I talked about my how I stayed fit even when living out of a suitcase for weeks at a time and now I want to share my yoga journey.
First yoga experience
My first encounter with yoga was in high school when my mom bought some yoga dvds to do at home in our living room. At the time I was figuring skating and dancing regularly and heard it was really good for your core, but never really tried it.
Fast forward about 4 years, and I’m a freshmen in university in California and there are all these girls in leggings with yoga mats, all going to classes in the massive gymnasium. But there were so many different classes my university gym offered, my attention was quickly drawn away to those. This was when I discovered my love for martial arts and rock climbing, but yoga was still the furthest from my mind. My mentality toward working out hasn’t changed, I still love variety and activities.
My first proper yoga class
So how was my first yoga class? Absolutely awful, and yes that is still how I remember it.
A friend convinced me to do a class with her before we got lunch and at his point I figured I should at least try it before writing it off. So I did. What I was not prepared for was the 90 minute hot yoga session. First, I hate heat…and felt nauseous about 20 minutes in and had to take child’s pose for just as long. Then there was this move called downward dog that we just kept going to. My hands would slip, but my shoulders were less than happy with me. All in all a pretty disastrous first yoga class…
I didn’t touch yoga again until a few years later, when there was a deal for a new studio by my apartment. It was time to give it another try and the few classes I got to do was definitely not terrible. I was more amazed by the yogis in the classes doing advanced asanas – arm balances and inversions. But again yoga fell to the back of my mind when I was too cheap to pay for it consistently.
What finally changed my mind
The summer between my MBA I had hit a weight that I had also set as my maximum I would ever allow myself to get to if I wasn’t being active. So for the first time in my life I joined a gym. Everyday for the first few weeks I was trying out a different class, including yoga! I still wasn’t convinced, but I didn’t mind it as much and enjoyed a slower pace once in a while.
I got into BJJ for a while and then added Muay Thai to that on top of climbing. Eventually I finally got into a pole tricks class and was absolutely hooked on that. It wasn’t until I took a contortion class where I couldn’t get my head off the ground in a backbend that I realised how much flexibility I had lost since my time as a figure skater and dancer.
Around this time I also started using Instagram to find inspiration for pole and also when I started travelling for work. Travelling meant no more access to my beloved gym classes and instead crappy hotel gyms. Through Instagram I saw all the beautiful images of yoga poses and was inspired to try them. Finally, there was my desire to maintain my fitness levels and work on my flexibility.
I didn’t even go to classes to follow videos, I just found some poses I liked and researched how to get into them and what warmups to do. In other words I created my own flows that worked on the aspects I wanted to. I discovered IG yoga challenges that pushed my to challenge myself and introduced new poses to me. I found a community that was supportive and inspiring in more than just yoga.
When I was back in London for my week home, I would go to at least one yoga class in my gym and I found I was actually enjoying having someone else guide me through a flow and force me to work on things I wouldn’t usually.
A few months into my travel project, I decided I was sick of terrible yoga mats in hotel gyms and splurged on something better. I did a lot of research and settled on a Liforme mat. It was Christmas time and I ended up getting the set – a travel and regular mat for home. Honestly after using a nicer mat, it’s SO hard to go back.
Continuing the Journey
Yoga allowed me to continue my fitness journey living out of a suitcase, but what I noticed was that it help me stay sane and find some calmness through my crazy work schedule. It gave me my own time to focus on nothing but me for an hour or two a day.
Now that I am back to a local project, I am still finding time to do 30-minutes a day or just very basic flows to give my mind some time to reflect and either start or end the day. I am so excited to see where my journey continues to take me and I am considering getting my 200 YTT as I would love to deepen my practice and also share it with others. I would love to hear your advice on teach training for those who have done it.
Please share your stories with me too!