The Power of Yoga

I will be the first to tell you that for years, I have been a yoga skeptic. My preference for exercise has always been engaging in speed, aggression, pain. I’ve been a cyclist for many years and a runner for the last four. I’ve taken martial arts, kickboxing, regular boxing (can you tell I like to hit things?), but I had never given yoga a chance. And then I started to notice something. People who were avid followers of yoga had a balanced strength that I haven’t been able to achieve since my swimming years. They exuded flexibility and peace while having these awesomely strong bodies. Those were all things that I wanted for myself as well.

Coming off of Lexi’s birth, I promised myself that I would at least give it a shot. I need to regain my core strength and while I will start running and cycling again in the very near future, I needed something else: Balance, both literally and figuratively. Plus, as luck would have it, one of our good friends happens to be a kick-ass yoga instructor and co-owns her own healing center & spa. Last night was my first class. My first 90-minute, challenging, sweaty and painful class. You know what? It was hard. And I loved it.

As I sit here, feeling muscles I haven’t engaged in years, I can’t help but be reflective. Running and cycling have always been satisfying for me because I felt like I could out pace my stress, my fears and for a short period of time, my responsibilities. But why do I need to run from these things? Aren’t they still waiting for me when I return? Isn’t that feeling of freedom just a band-aid on whatever is ailing me at the present moment? I realized through the lessons of last night’s class that sometimes it takes more strength to weather the storm by rooting yourself in strength instead of seeking shelter elsewhere. Perhaps that’s the balance that I’m seeking – learning how to handle things with grace, in that moment, instead of needing to exhaust myself before I can respond appropriately to some of life’s stresses. Who knew I could get all that from one class?

And just like that, I’ve committed to going to classes weekly. Who knows, maybe by this time next year, I won’t be running away from life, but towards it.

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