I took my first yoga class when I was 11. I can’t remember what sparked my interest in doing it, or even much about the class itself, but it started a life journey that I’ve followed ever since. It hasn’t been a consistent journey, there are plenty of gaps and spaces in between, but I’ve never lost my love for the practice. Every time I step on a mat and take a few minutes for myself to recenter both physically and mentally I feel like I’m at home.
Between my first practice ever and college, my practice was particularly sparse. I was so busy with school and extra-curricular activities I rarely took the time to practice. I got a yoga mat for my 12 birthday (which I still have and use), in high school I got a yoga video from the store that I did from time to time, but for the most part I didn’t take the time for it.
In college, I gained a friend who was just as interested in attending yoga classes as I was. We went to a few hot yoga classes where my intense love really sunk in. I started doing more yoga flows at home on my own, finding videos on YouTube to follow along to, and generally making an effort to fit it into my schedule. When I started my job after graduation, my company offered free yoga classes once a week, and even though I had a long commute after, I stayed around every week because I became reliant on the reset my practice gave me. I felt realigned physically, both stretched and building strength.
Last year, I treated myself to an unlimited membership to a yoga studio in Chicago. I could walk there from work and because I was spending the extra money each month to belong to the studio, I spent as much time there as I could fit in. During this phase of my practice I found an instructor who I really connected with. Her style of teaching vinyasa flows paired perfectly with what I needed every week. Building your physically strength, pushing yourself to the edge of your comfort zone to find the balance you need to live gracefully, balanced with searching internally to find the most comfortable “home” you can have on the inside. She taught each class in a way that paired what we do on the outside to strengthen who we are, and how we treat ourselves, on the inside.
Today, I try to do at least a few minutes of practice every day. I feel uncomfortable, like I didn’t do my morning stretches, without it, it helps me fall asleep, and I feel so much more self-love when I practice. Lately I’ve also been a lot more vocal about my love of yoga, encouraging others to try it and realize yoga is not a “competition” or something that you can’t do because you’ve never done it before. Taking a few moments for yourself every and find a buddy who wants to try it with you, find a video online to follow along to, try out a beginners class, or hit me up and I’ll meet up to go through a flow with you. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done for my well-being.