If You’re Thinking of Beginning a Yoga Practice

I took my first yoga class in 1998 as an elective when I was in nursing school. Twice a week, I was mandated to be on a mat, for 1.5 hours. Pure heaven for a stressed out student. I have a chronic shoulder problem. All my stress goes to my right shoulder and it gets all tight and contracted and very painful. I’d tried lots of different things to fix it over the years and nothing helped, but yoga did. I was amazed. If I stop yoga, it comes back, but if I am doing it regularly it keeps the shoulder in check. Since then, I have taken a six week session here, a ten week session there. With months and usually years in between them. I tried doing it at home, but found the distractions of little kids and animals almost impossible to contend with.

Last year I bought a limited pass at the yoga studio I currently go to. The first class I went to was a power yoga class and I made the mistake of thinking I’d just modify the poses and I’d be fine. I wasn’t fine. I was killed. It was hard. This was the teacher. I was so not ready for Parker.

And it’s no wonder I had a hard time motivating myself to get back to the studio after that. It wasn’t until the pass was about to expire that I got my butt to the studio. And in order to use it up, I had to go every other day for a month.

If you have not done yoga in a long time or if you are going to start yoga for the first time, take a beginner class. Take a slow flow class. Take a restorative class. Do yourself a favor and don’t take power yoga, hot. You’re just setting yourself up for failure. You have to build up to the likes of Parker!

But that’s the good thing about this studio. There are classes for every level.

And going every other day! Wow. If you go once a week, it’s like starting over every time. It’s hard. You won’t want to go. Going every other day as much as possible has made a huge difference for me. It’s amazing how quickly the body develops strength and balance when used often. In this 40 Days program, I am doing yoga every day for six days, then off on the 7th. Sometimes it’s only a 1/2 hour at home, but I try to get to the studio as often as possible.

You know what I love about yoga? It’s collective, but it’s also so personal. You are there with a group, and it’s great when the room is breathing in sync, really flowing, but no one gives a rip about where anyone else is at. There are going to be people who are really fit, and there are going to be people who are really not. No one cares. There are people with no flexibility. People who are very flexible. There are athletes. There are pregnant people modifying the poses to fit their needs. There are sexy twenty year-olds. There are ladies who lunch. There are overweight people. There are elderly people,(some fit as fiddles). I am always amazed by the splash of humanity that shows up for any given class. Where else would all of us come together? Nowhere.

To me, it is a victory if I just get there. If I get out the door of my house and make it to the studio, and roll out my mat. I’ve already won. Whatever happens after that is gravy.

Cleveland Yoga has amazing teachers. If you want to be inspired, click here and watch some of their videos. Marni’s and Candy’s videos are really cute. And I love Joanne’s. All of them are great,really.

And guess what folks? One day recently Parker’s was the only class I could fit into my schedule. Fearful, I seriously considered staying home. Like, I could hardly walk for a few days last time! But I went. It was challenging, but I kept up. I could do it! And I’ve only been at it seriously for a few months. (Note: we’re not doing in class what she’s doing in the video).

Yoga. With my sporadic history I hardly feel qualified to be giving advice, but I will anyway.

1) Start slow.

2) Go often.

3) Remember to breathe.

There is a spiritual aspect of yoga. Connecting your body and your breath, you can often find glimpses of God while on your mat. You might even beg for God while holding certain poses!

You might also, after a couple of months, walk up to your husband, flex your butt, and say, “Feel my butt!”

And then bask in his being impressed with it’s new firmness.

Hey, it’s not all about enlightenment.


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5 Responses to If You’re Thinking of Beginning a Yoga Practice

  1. Ever the inspiration — I thank you for it –

  2. kario says:

    This was so fun to read – so different from your normal writing style! I can tell that you’re excited about the 40 days program and, I’m feeling a bit guilty now that I haven’t been to yoga in two weeks. It is so hard to figure out how to fit it in with the kids around, but I’ll remember your advice.

  3. Dee Ready says:

    Dear Michelle,
    Thanks once again for inspiring me.


  4. goodfountain says:

    You’re very much inspiring me to try Yoga. I need to get out of the house to do something (like you -can’t do it at home). And I’m just not feeling like doing some major cardio workout (although I like and need that). I don’t know, the yoga is sounding appealing. I just looked at the website for the studio that I drive past frequently. I just may do it. Thanks for writing about this so much.

  5. amber says:

    You mean, Namaste, Bitches?


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