A few months ago I started receiving different messages and signs encouraging me to start yoga, I attempted to ignore these messages for as long as possible. I created excuses like I don't have enough time for it, I'm not flexible or graceful enough, but in reality I was afraid.
I was afraid of embarrassing myself and bruising my ego.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from yoga. I was scared I'd show up to the class, have no idea what I was doing, be super clumsy and embarrass myself in front of a room full of experienced yogis that would judge me for not being able to do a hand stand.
After putting it off for a few weeks with a myriad of excuses, the messages from the Universe became louder and louder until I could no longer ignore them.
So I decided to get over my ego and fear of not being good enough, and I signed up for a two week yoga pass. I promised myself I'd go to as many classes as I could in two weeks and if I didn't like it by the end of the two weeks, then at least I would have given it my best shot.
The first class I took was Yin. I had read that it was the perfect class for beginners as you hold the poses for longer giving you ample time to figure out how to get into the position, and it concentrated on floor postures and so it wouldn’t require hand stands *phew*
MY YOGA JOURNEY
After the 90 minute Yin class was over and I lay in Shavasana, I had discovered a new level of inner peace and I knew why the Universe had guided me here.
After a couple of Yin classes, I had enough courage to take a hot yoga class.
Even though I fell out of all the balancing poses, was unable to lift my legs off the ground for bow and upward facing dog and nearly vomited doing camel, the energy in the room revitalised me and I began to feel my energy shift.
Before I knew it, the two weeks were up and I signed myself up for a one month unlimited pass. I’ve now been practicing yoga for two months, and these are some of the lessons yoga has taught me so far.
OUR BODIES ARE INCREDIBLE
In the beginning it was a struggle to touch my toes, actually every pose was a struggle. But with continued patience and regular classes, I was amazed at how quickly my body transformed. After a month I had the strength and flexibility to hold dancer, I was able to achieve upward dog and to my delight have my legs completely off the ground for bow.
Our bodies are truly incredible, I no longer refer to myself as inflexible and ungraceful, I've learnt that by treating my body with love, respect and patience it responds beautifully.
WE HAVE OFF MOMENTS AND THAT’S OKAY.
When I began yoga I had a fear that others would judge me for not being good at it. I quickly realised that no one is there to judge, it was actually my inner critic I needed to over come.
I've learnt that each day is different, some days I'm a pro during the balancing poses and other days I'm Miss Wobbles, but that's okay.
Some days I can hold the awkward squat series with ease, and other days it takes a lot of convincing to not give up, and that’s okay.
My inner critic is still around, but through yoga she has got quieter and less judgemental. I am now more accepting of myself and during those off moments, and I have learned to send love and kindness to the areas that need attention and healing, instead of criticism and frustration.
I’VE LEARNT TO LISTEN WITHOUT JUDGEMENT
Before yoga my exercise routine consisted of rather intense work outs - rowing, running, lifting weights, etc. I had a set training schedule and felt guilty if I didn’t complete the workout or I was harsh on myself if I didn’t complete it to the standard I thought I should be at.
I’ve decided to let go of that schedule and just listen to what my body, mind and soul needs on a day to day basis. Most days it is yoga, some days it’s a run or a walk in nature, and sometimes it is recovery and sleep. Importantly I no longer feel guilty when my body asks for rest, I just honour the request without judgement.
With the shift in my exercise routine I’ve also noticed a shift in my eating.
Before yoga I was following a mainly paleo diet, which my body needed at the time to heal itself. After a couple of yoga classes all my body was craving was lighter, more alkaline foods like nourishing green smoothies, salads and soups, so I honoured that.
However, I am continually reminded to listen to my body and to check in with myself before each meal. Sometimes I have super strong cravings for chocolate so I make sure to check in with why I’m having this craving - Am I trying to cover an emotion? Am I actually dehydrated? Am I hungry for something else? After doing these checks and if I still have a craving for chocolate, then I make the conscious decision to eat it and that’s okay. No judgement here.
I NOW UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE RAVE ABOUT SHAVASANA ON INSTAGRAM
My first few classes I discovered a new level of relaxation during shavasana. Then as I continued with my classes, I was amazed how quickly I could drop into a deeper meditation during shavasana and the energy shifts that occurred during this time.
I've had old experiences arise and release. I've had two of my beloved spirit guides say goodbye and new ones enter. I've received vivid images and insights helping me to develop ideas and projects I had been stuck on.
Most importantly I've come to know myself on a deeper level and I am grateful for the guidance I have received on where the Universe is guiding my soul.
My biggest challenge was having the courage to show up to my first class. Once I took that first class and overcame my fears, I realised how many other aspects of my life I’d been delaying, because I'd been afraid I wouldn't be able to achieve the expected outcome I had placed on myself.
Yoga has taught me to show up and to be in the present moment. Each time I'm in a pose and my mind wanders to what’s coming up next, I instantly fall out of that current posture. A constant reminder of the importance of being in the now and not being distracted by the past or the future.
So I have committed to begin, to not focus on the outcome, but to just make sure I am taking steps each day to progress my journey.
I was actually intending to write this blog after two weeks of yoga, but instead I’ve put it off for over a month out of fear I couldn’t write a blog that honoured how amazing yoga has been for me. So I decided last week to write a paragraph each day, and finally here I am, complete.
I am grateful for the many shifts in energy I have experienced and the lessons I have learned so far from yoga. I’m still a long way away from doing a hand stand, but at least I’m on my way.