About two months ago I started yoga at Gaia Flow Yoga, a hot yoga studio in Addison. It’s been quite the amazing journey thus far. At Gaia, they practice with love. This means that we occasionally turn to our neighbors and say “I love you”..which really can feel a little ridiculous at times. But yoga is all about letting go, and letting go of feeling silly is certainly one of them. We are also taught to act with love and kindness, and to love ourselves. Love where you are today in your practice and love where it will take you tomorrow. When you walk into the room, you let everything go. To be distracted by work, friends or anything else is taking away from your practice. Each class is a gift you are giving yourself, and you should enjoy that gift. And it’s so unbelievably true. When I leave any of the five classes, I feel fantastic.
The overall point of practicing love is that the things you practice on your mat are to transcend into your day to day life. Every week there is something new for you to focus on during your practice and during your week, called Sadhanas (yamas or niyamas). For instance, one week was to not be greedy, called Aparigraha. Each class I went to that week, the different instructor had a different interpretation as to how to practice it that week. It went beyond the typical money greed, and into bigger things. Perhaps to you it meant greedy with your time when you should be spending time cultivating your friendships and family relationships. Speaking of the instructors, they are all amazing and lovely people to be around. Really, everyone who attends the classes are in general, happy and nice people. But I mean, I guess we are all yogis, so how unhappy could we possibly be?
We are also a sweaty bunch. And I mean sweat – y. Oh my lanta. You leave completely drenched and your body begging for a nap. As I begin dipping my toe into more difficult classes, I am learning how weak I actually am. I’ve always had what I oh so affectionally refer to as “man arms” but despite the proud biceps and triceps definition I have gained from doing weights all year, those suckers aren’t getting me into a handstand. It’s all new muscles being worked, toned and pushed to their sweaty physical limit.
Practicing yoga has also had other affects on me outside the Gaia Flow room. I am even more interested than before in learning about other religions. Often when the yoga instructors mention a God they say “your god or my god.” I find this fascinating as it pulls religion into your practice without constricting your beliefs. I also find myself taking deep breathes when I get stressed, overwhelmed or upset. Taking a few breathes, remembering my practice, have taken helped ease stress in my day-to-day life. Another take away from Gaia Flow is they always say when we start warming up to notice the slight pains, any tightness or anything else out of the ordinary. Notice it and accept it. And then breathe into it. To not get frustrated with things you cannot change is huge for me. To not get frustrated but continue striving for more. I have also improved my diet since kicking up my yoga practice. You develop a natural desire to treat your body better (and being around super yogis twisting in all directions is definitely encouragement).
I suppose yoga isn’t for everyone, but I bet you’d be an easy convert. An activity that is physically challenging, emotionally enlightening and full of awesome people? No elliptical can quite give you that satisfaction in your workout and in your life. Well, now I must be off to my weekend warrior class to be impressed by those pretzels around me and to hopefully finally get into a headstand!
The divine light in me sees the divine light in you. All my love, namaste.
(see? I’m practically a natural.. okay so maybe I’m still mastering that downward facing dog..but no matter)