“Strong legs. Do not let your foot on your thigh dominate the one that is grounded” said the instructor. We were trying the tree-pose- Vrikshasana. How profound I thought! It is very simple- One foot is on the ground and the other on your thigh, the one n the ground should not be shaken or affected in any way. Just like in life, we can’t let an external factor affect us, we need to draw energy from within to stay strong and grounded.
It was one of those phases when nothing seemed to be going right. Something kept bothering me – physically and mentally. Top on the list was loneliness. I was just back to my bachelor pad after the wedding and my roommate had moved for good. I felt alone more so after being surrounded by family and friends for a month. As I kept wondering how to fight it, I came across an ad for Yoga classes around the corner, $30 for a month of unlimited classes. Why not try it?
I had heard and read some very positive things about yoga. How it engages you physically and mentally. And unlike many who might think it is pretentious, I like when people talk about compassion or being mindful. Though it might feel silly to hear the first time about listening to your toes or fingers, it made sense over time. So I decided to try and loved it. It was a safe space.
After the first month, I started attending community classes. My yoga studio not just taught but embraced the values and offered $5 classes everyday for people in the community. So that was (in a way) my motivation – because paying out of my pocket $15/ class was not my kind of fitness. I am sure there are many out there who might agree with me.
I found myself feeling great after each “hot-yoga” session. It might be psychological but I remember wanting to smile or hum as I drove back home after classes even on really bad days at work. The yoga instructors would talk about their day or discuss a quote or ask us to envision something and I found myself trying these out even outside of classes. Just breathing when anxiety hits me or taking a moment to accept and acknowledge my feelings before responding. Forgiving people or letting go of things more easily. In about three months, I knew this is a hobby that is going to stay longer.
As I became stronger mentally I also noticed an improvement in my physical strength. I had never done any physical activity ever in my life. I had been weak and underweight most of my life. It dawned on me that physical strength is much much more important than anything else and it is never too late to build it, that made me want to push myself a little more every day. There is a sense of satisfaction in carrying four bags of groceries all by yourself or throw your 50 lbs suitcase all by yourself in the trunk instead of waiting for your Uber driver to help.
I made new friends who were like-minded, I met many new people and so the initial purpose of doing something to fight my loneliness was solved as well.
Yoga is fascinating and I have been spending time trying to understand its origin, benefits and how it has evolved over the years. I have had a very organic journey in the last one year and I thought I would share my story. A recent challenge on Instagram made me post pictures of my yoga journey, making a lot of people curious about yoga and wanting to try it.
In my next post, I am going to address some FAQs, doubts, and concerns one might have. If you have any questions as a beginner or as someone interested in learning please leave them in the comments below. You can follow my yoga journey on Instagram here.
Also, do tell me if you have had any similar experiences of how a hobby helped you in your life.
P.S. I stopped my #atozchallenge at L, I hope this post to be compensated for M-Y. That is why the title is Me and not I 😛