I never really liked activities that required my body to move. Growing up, I preferred reading over playing outdoors. I never participated in any sports activities in school because I hated getting sweaty and my body was not well coordinated. Growing up I never liked exercise, because fitness was never my priority.
Yoga was introduced to me by a colleague. I’ve always seen her as a positive person who walks gracefully even with her 5-inch heels. We had a conversation during an after-work dinner with our bosses. When she asked me what my hobbies are or what I do during weekends, I didn’t really know how to answer. I wanted to look good and say something cool. In the end, I answered the truth – I stay at home and do nothing. That’s when she told me to try practicing yoga.
That night, I started looking up books and videos about yoga on the internet. I also came upon the yoga studio website and after gathering some courage, I finally signed up. The day before the yoga class, I was contemplating whether to just “bail” on the class. I had a lot of concerns. Mostly because I was very conscious of my body.
I was afraid that my inactivity had turned my body into solid rock. That every pose would be a struggle because I was not flexible. Aside from that, I felt ashamed of my body, and didn’t want to be a laughingstock in front of strangers. Who would want that, right?
The next day, I found myself in the yoga studio wearing a pair of leggings I’d worn only once. Luckily, the studio had yoga mats for rent. I borrowed one and proceeded to the classroom. There I met a couple of people who were also trying yoga for the first time, and immediately, I felt that I wasn’t alone.
The first lesson was mostly about the introduction and basics of yoga. It was challenging, I did not know where to place the parts of my body and I was unsure whether I was doing it right. I was so glad that the instructor took the time to help each one of us. Suddenly, I wasn’t intimidated anymore. Towards the end of the class, I felt like it was a place where I belonged. These people felt like my people, even though I hadn’t memorized their names yet. I realized afterwards this was because during the class I shared energy with them. After that first class, I couldn’t wait for the next.
I instantly fell in love with yoga after that first class. When I got home, I went on eBay and bought my first yoga mat. After a few classes, I felt my overall existence improving, I realized yoga is not just a physical exercise, it is an exercise for the mind and the spirit as well.
My relationship with myself improved – a lot. While there are still a lot of things that concern me, I am no longer ashamed of my body. I sleep better and my skin has improved. Thoughts of looking ugly and unconventional don’t bother me anymore, I feel more confident.
At work, I’ve become more productive and am less stressed.
I’ve learned to “let go” of the things that affect my life negatively, including unhealthy relationships towards material things and people.
Meditation and mantras helped me. I have overcome a lot of challenges. I have found something that I can’t get anywhere else. Yoga doesn’t judge. It helps you become a better person by accepting what is and what isn’t, and by learning to let go.
These are just some of the changes I noticed after practicing yoga. I know that there are more benefits that I haven’t mentioned, but one thing is for sure – I became a different person after yoga.
Practicing yoga has become a habit, a routine that even when I am away and traveling, I allot a specific time to practice. I have promised myself that even when I am old and gray, I will continue this as my own tradition.
My yoga journey was not very easy at the beginning, but I am happy and thankful that I stuck to it and that it has become a significant part of my life.
Kelly is a 200 hour hatha yoga teacher and loves yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. You can learn more about her at https://bestinyoga.com.