Here is to a loaded question. As I sit back and reflect on the answer to that question, the answer has shifted so many times throughout my practice. I could say the cookie-cutter responses:
- To touch my toes
- Calm the mind
- I heard it was good for you
These cookie-cutter responses have also been why I have or sometimes still practice yoga. If we are being completely honest, I hated yoga when I first went into a class. In fact, I do not know how my bestfriend and I did not get kicked out of that class. We were a complete distraction as we were cracking up at every little thing.
I would dabble in classes here and there and still did not understand what all the fuss was about. I have always considered myself athletic and kept myself busy with soccer, kickboxing and weightlifting. Yoga just didn’t keep my attention.
A friend of mine convinced me to take a power flow class with their favorite instructor. The person beside me was 9 months pregnant doing a headstand while I can’t hold a downdog because my shoulders and hamstrings were yelling at me.
SIDE NOTE Yes, you can invert if you are pregnant if you had a consistent practice prior to being pregnant END NOTE
I blame my athletic background and my EGO, but the fact this woman beside me is able to do a headstand while pregnant sparked my competitive nature. Little did I know that after a few more classes that my friend dragged me too, my intention would shift.
Savasana…Corpse Pose…Final Relaxation
After at least a 50 minute flow, and really I looked like a creaky tin man with my stiff body, we were instructed to lie on our backs for our final relaxation. We could have been there for 30 seconds, 1 minute, 10 minutes, I have no idea how long we were there. Bottom line, for my busy brain, I thought of nothing, me…NOTHING. I didn’t think about what I had to do for work, I didn’t think about what I had to eat, I didn’t think about that woman beside me and if she had her baby, I didn’t think when is class going to end. I was simply there. That moment, I felt light, high even, in a time that I considered myself stressed and overworked. That momement was the reason I continued to come to yoga.
I am very competitive by nature and I am finally able to check out on my yoga mat. Anytime my ego seems to push through is when I find myself getting hurt with anything. Between breaking my collarbone, hernia surgery repair, and breaking my wrist, I have constantly learned the importance of slowing down and finding balance.
SIDE NOTE These injuries were all NON-YOGA injuries END NOTE
Yoga is also more than just getting on your mat. For me, getting lost in my garden bed, planting vegetables, sitting outside drinking my coffee.
So why yoga? It is an evolving practice and believe it has helped make me a stronger, more patient and compassionate person because of it.
So why do YOU practice yoga?