Though I am far from calling myself a yogi, I have been avidly practicing yoga for about two months. I wish I could say I became interested because of the spiritual connection between the mind and body, but my journey is a lot more simple than that. I started yoga because I had the desire to become more flexible. After being a long distance runner for roughly six years, my hips and hamstrings had grown far too accustomed to tightening up after I workout. I wanted to let them breathe.
The first week or so I started small. I followed 20-30 minute YouTube videos and used the small amount of open floor in my dorm room as my ‘studio.’ Then I began attending 1-2 yoga classes a week at my school’s recreation center (in addition to my dorm room practices). Without realizing it, I was hooked.
It is no surprise that the first lesson (or virtue) I learned from yoga was patience. It took me a while to figure out the importance of carving out time during each practice to focus on breathing. As someone who typically focuses on cardio workouts, I felt like sitting cross-legged and breathing in-and-out was a waste of time.
Over time, I allowed myself to surrender my impatience, surrender my thoughts, and just breathe. It takes time to master this (I am constantly working at it), but each day I grew stronger. By only focusing on breath, my worries and anxiety felt far away. I could distance myself from the stress of being a student/journalist/runner/employee and just exist as a simple breath. The feeling is both liberating and neccessary.
I understand no major progress happens over night, though I do notice more definition in my muscles already. Most of the time, however, I cannot twist and turn my body into many of the poses, and the ones I can do cause me to shake. But I love my imperfections and my room for progress. Yoga has taught me the importance of embracing being a beginner.
As I continue along this journey, I intend to share the challenges and joys I encounter. Hopefully by the end of summertime I can finesse my way into some pretty challenging poses. I look forward to the process.