I've only taken one organized yoga class in the past, and it was NOT a happy experience: I had never done yoga before but apparently stepped into a class with a bunch of those flashy, I can do every inversion imaginable, yogis who have been practicing for ages, and my hyper competitive nature was completely crushed when I could barely even get into downward dog (let alone hold it for half the class). I cried in the class, gave up halfway through, and never went back.
Needless to say, I was a little hesitant to dive into more yoga, even two years later. The scars hadn't fully healed, but I've been making a point of pushing myself physically and trying new things, plus I've had nothing but excellent experiences with Exhale. I figured, "it's free, I have a coworker who wants to go too, I'll give it a second chance."
Yup, that about sums it up.
We walked over and arrived just in time to get the last two mats, up in the front corner with a lovely view of the wall and a clock that ticked louder than Big Ben at noon. There was no way I could have seen the instructor - or anyone besides my friend next to me. Great start for my confidence and comfort levels. The class started almost immediately, so I dropped my water and towel and quickly tried to figure out how to relax. For those of you who know me well, relaxing is NOT one of my skills, especially after a long day at work! I felt ten steps behind from the get-go, and with that clock ticking in my face, I was pretty worried about the hour that was to follow.
Fortunately, I've been doing a lot more yoga-type practices at home, and my overall body strength and flexibility have been increasing lately. Though I didn't know all the fancy names for most of the poses, I was surprised how quickly I caught on to the flow, and even more surprised by how many poses I could actually accomplish! I wasn't perfect, I wobbled a lot, and took the "easier" modification most of the time, but I still did it! No tears, no quitting, no panicking, just yoga. And I even DID manage one or two of the intermediate modifications on some poses! Huzzah!
I can't promise this won't be me someday...
I had enough of that successful feeling after the class that I'm willing to open up to adding yoga as a more regular event in my life. There are tons of local yoga studios available through ClassPass, so I'll have the opportunity to bounce around and try different styles and instructors to build a well-rounded practice and find true fulfillment through yoga. I believe my life can really benefit from learning to focus and to relax, and the physiological benefits are much-needed as well. I'm looking forward to developing a practice and advancing mind, body, and soul all together.
But of course, Exhale is never satisfied with just delivering an excellent class experience - they always throw in a little extra! Last night it was an excitingly PINK pair of Bombas Socks! The Bombas brand is pretty cool: they're focused on not only providing a well designed product, but they are dedicated to giving back. For every pair of Bombas socks purchased, a matching pair is donated to a person in need. What a great idea!
Thanks Exhale and Bombas! These socks really are the BOMB!
How are you celebrating National Yoga Month? Check out the official website to get a week of FREE classes from a yoga studio in your area!