Sunday, May 15, 2011

my journey to namaste

We are going to go back here.
Way way, wayway back.

I grew up very much a tomboy. My best-of-friends when I was little were my two boy cousins that lived right down the street. I learned to throw a football, climb a tree, and hit a bike jump (or fly over the handle bars) as good as the rest of them.
I played sports just for fun, and for community and school teams.
I ended up playing competitive softball for 8 years and basketball for 10.

Senior year. We won the school's first girls basketball trophy in years. 
let's not talk about my hair. or lets do.
I have always enjoyed physical activity of all kinds, and always did something for fun--until (as we read about a few months ago), there came the time in my life where I needed to do something for actual exercise...not just "for fun".

While I was never a "runner", it seemed as the easiest form of exercise to start up, so I did.
And that was that.

I remember the first time I gave any thought to yoga. 
And I thought it was a joke! 
It was 2003 and I was working at Sam Goody in Rexburg Idaho, while Robby and I went to school. One of my favorite parts of the job, was always having new magazines to look through (I am a magazine addict!!) It was during a phase of my life where I paid too much attention to celebrities and their business, and it was when Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt were queen and king of my little celebrity world.

I read an article about how Jennifer (can I call her that, like we are friends?) kept in such perfect shape and she claimed it was all thanks to yoga.


Here I'd been pounding my body on the pavement for years, throwing every ball I could get my hands on, and looking for every way I could to drip with sweat....and I was nowhere close to looking like she must be a big (non)fat liar. I most definitely shut the magazine and laughed. 
There was no way that simple "stretches" and chanting spells (so maybe I was still confused about what yoga was) could be that beneficial.

Over the next few years I heard more and more about yoga--all the promises, benefits, and magical powers it could give you. hoopla! Save it for the hippies.

Running was all I needed, I was sure of it.

silly girl. 

About three and half years ago, I decided to step in to a yoga class at our gym. Why not? I knew the teacher, and bonus--it was dark!! No one could see me making a fool of myself, while most definitely not getting a workout. I had to know what all this crazy talk was about.

note: not me.
Picture 17

It was a fusion class--yoga, pilates, and thai chi all mushed together and choreographed to an awesome playlist. I left without loving it or hating it....but for some reason I went back. 
It might have actually been for the music.

But week after week, I found myself back, still not believing that it could do much for me, but still there. For the most part just going through the motions, not really getting it, but doing it anyway.

inhale, exhale, yeah yeah yeah.

But there I was, again and again. 
After about a year of this, something just clicked. 
I actually started to feel the poses, instead of just doing them. 
I dripped a few drops of sweat onto my mat, and woke up the next morning sore.

I started to crave this class--and I'd make sure to work my schedule around it. I needed it each week.

Another year went by of just this class, and while I enjoyed it very much, I needed more. 
I needed to be challenged, both physically and mentally.

I started going to Abbey's other yoga class. I'd heard it was hard. Crazy hard. But I had to try.

hahaha for sure not me.
Picture 15
It was hard.

Bending and twisting every this way and that. 
How are these things possible?? What is she doing? What is she doing?
Why is everyone breathing so loud and whos feet stink??

All of these crazy thoughts......
....yet I was drip drip dropping sweat into my eyes and flooding my mat below.

I loved it. 

How did it happen?

There's really no way to explain it--but if you've been there, you know. 

Yoga is more than silly poses and magic spells (ok, there are no magic spells, darn). 

Without totally getting cheese all over you as you read this, it teaches you about yourself. 

How strong you are. It makes you pay attention. At first just in class--each pose--how you feel and how much you hate it. How happy you are when you finally get it. 

But then you start to pay attention more in other areas of your life as well.

My running has changed. How I run. How I breathe. I breathe. 
I feel so much stronger--I am stronger. For the first time in my life, I have a muscle! (confetti drop!)

And the more I do it, the more I can listen to and actually hear what my body needs.
And mostly, my body needs more yoga.

My challenge to you this week, is a bit harder than in weeks past. I don't think that there are many people who can just jump right in to yoga and enjoy it from day one (give it time!), but I really believe that it can benefit everyone! No matter your age, shape, or size. (just ask this lady)

If yoga is something you've been wondering about anyway, here's my little push for you to try it out.

If you think it's for deodorant-less hippies, believe me when I tell you it's not. It's for you too. (deodorant optional)

The first thing you need to do is find a teacher that you will mesh well with. 
Had my first experience been with a teacher who had me start out with crazy breathing and energy talk I would have been outta there! That's just not me--I needed someone who didn't take themselves too seriously. So explore your options. 
Second, don't give up. It will take time--it took years to finally click with me. 

And just know it's hard--but it's hard for everyone. 
The best part is learning to deal with the hard.

When you really throw yourself into it, it will wring you out, in the best of best ways possible.


ps come over and discuss your favorite and least  favorite poses on the facebook page!
pps. blogger temporarily deleted this post, and when it reposted all of your thoughtful comments were sorry! I loved reading all your thoughts on yoga though--thank you for sharing!


ieatmodestmouse said...

thank you so much for sharing this. it couldn't have come at a better time..
last year about this time i quit yoga. i had been going for over a year and it was life-changing; i was happy! i have never been REALLY HAPPY. i was for that year. when i quit, something in me died. recently i realized one of the reasons i was going was one of the instructors that i felt a close bond with..and he left. so i left. and everything that i learned that year has left. and now guess where that has left me!? you got it-unhappy...
yet there is still something holding me back from starting again.
but maybe this post will be the push that i needed. so thank you for it. and thank you for letting me share.

Unknown said...

I LOVE YOGA & RUNNING! I have recently started Zumba for my 'cross training' once/week too. I can't find a yoga class close enough to justify the drive so I am w/o right now but I love it when I do it!!!

Elise said...

I'm one of those crazy people who have loved (hated) yoga from the beginning. My first class I was sold - but I think it was because it was dark, candle lit and beyonce was apart of the fun playlist. Now I work at that studio that sold me on yoga and will (probably) never do anything else!

Unknown said...

it is so random that you write about this today-because i woke up from the most random yoga dream this morning. probably from going to my first class two days ago and rolling around sore ever sense. it was powerful, but for some reason i am still not 100 percent in. i just love running too much, but its that extra something that i am sure will help strengthen all those muscles.

people who always have bodies i want do yoga, and thats why i tried it. i thought-load of crap. then trying it and being sore and feeling lean and seeing the teachers body.. its possible!!

kate said...

i love yoga. love, love, love yoga. on campus we have free workout classes and i go to yoga twice a week (granted it's students teaching it so it's not the beeeest class but,) i agree that you learn about you. it's more of an in depth workout. for me, i get the same feeling when running long distances. over 6-10 miles. when i start to really regulate my pace and breath. it's amazing what focused breathing can do! and just when you thought this comment couldn't get any longer... i am taking a "voice diction" class this semester and we do stretching, breathing and vocal warm-ups every day before class (it's actually very similar to yoga) and it's such a stress reliever. it really is!

anyway. go yoga!

Lacey Parr said...

I love yoga and have tried without much success to make up my own practice with a book and DVD made by MTV. Do you know of any good yoga classes/schools in the Utah county area??

Anonymous said...

What a great perspective. Thanks for sharing! The first time I tried yoga, it was "weird" & just not me -- because I did have a teacher with crazy breathing & energy talk. Once I found styles that meshed & challenged me, I started to crave it too.

melissa said...

maybe you worked at sam goody with my friend annalee. (it wasn't open for that long so the chances are moderate. ha.)

ps yoga makes my body feel more evenly distributed. say that's weird but it does.

Rachael said...

Great post! And loved your hair back then! Hey, my hair is all limp and flat. Yours had bounce!
I have never tried yoga before. Maybe partly because all of the 'hype' it has. But maybe somday when there's an actual yoga studio around me I'd love to try it.

Hannah Mayo said...

Great post- I love yoga, and I seriously don't know what I'd do without it.

Lula. said...

Sam Goody! hahahaha.

And I wish you lived 20 miles closer so we could go to yoga together. I think it is so much more fun with a friend... did you already say that?

Burk Family said...

Sheena, my yoga instructor is in her early 50s with one breast and i'm pretty sure she doesn't shower and brush her teeth regularly...and I love her. She's maybe the only hippie I've ever loved- she doesn't judge me and pushes me more when I think I'm pushing already. It's hard to explain to those who haven't done it but it saves my sanity!

sarah nicole said...

I've been doing yoga for four months now (at Avenues Yoga - which is amazing!) and I agree with everything you just said. It has taught me SO much about myself and what I am capable of. And for a girl who could never throw a ball, or pirouette, or get her body to do anything she wanted it to do, actually, that is huge! : )

I love it.



Unknown said...

I really want to try it now! Just searching for a friend who will give it a go with me too :-)

Anonymous said...

What a great story! Yours is one of enlightenment and transformation, and I think it's something we all would like to have in our lives. I'm so glad that you eventually ended up enjoying yoga and its benefits. It's not just about the poses and the stretching. It's about your body, your mind and yourself. I hope that you're still practicing yoga to this day, especially if it boosts your sports abilities!

- Ozie Hensler