If You're Not Doing Yoga, You Should Be--Here's Why:

I've recently taken up yoga as a result of meeting a yoga instructor from a photoshoot. And I've fallen in love with it! I stopped swimming over 8 months ago, and since then I've had a hard time finding a physical activity that I truly enjoy. Growing up swimming, I never took to running -- so that one was out of the question. I wanted to do kickboxing and personal training, but being on a college budget sure didn't allow me to do that either (maybe someday in the future). 

Then I came across a donation-based yoga class at a vegan cafe thanks to my new friend Ellie! She teaches yoga there once a week, and was my instructor for the first class I took there. 

I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. It was my second class ever, my first one being in middle school. 

After my class I kind of had some time to reflect. I'd come to conclusion that this was it. This was the form of exercise that would serve as my swimming replacement. 

I had no idea that yoga took so much strength and focus and that it could be so relaxing all at the same time. I was very pleasantly surprised and the thing that I most appreciated about it is that it's challenging enough to where you can always work towards nailing a new pose each time you practice it.

According to the American Osteopathic Association, here are some more benefits of yoga:

  • increased flexibility
  • increased muscle strength and tone
  • maintaining a balanced metabolism
  • protection from injury
  • stress relief
  • developing coping skills
  • a more positive outlook on life
  • improved mental well-being through mediation 
  • increased body awareness

I can already attest to these mental benefit claims as I've felt so much more rejuvenated after starting yoga. I've become even more motivated that I was before, and I actually look forward to my workouts which I haven't in a long time. 

I think that just being surrounded in such a restorative environment can do a lot for a person. There's just this positive vibe that is so contagious and I've noticed it carry over into other aspects of my life already. I've started drinking more water, eating healthier, exercising more, and overall just have had a much better attitude. 

I think one of the hardest parts about finding an activity that you might enjoy is the fear of starting. Going to a new fitness class can sure be intimidating--which is why I had a hard time exercising the 8 months. I didn't want to go to a gym because I was nervous about what other people would think of me, and I didn't really know how to use the machines. And like I mentioned before--I've never been a fan of running, although now I tend to run just lightly a couple of times a week. 

My first class here in Saint Louis was with Ellie, so that made the class a bit easier than just jumping in not knowing anyone. But since then, I've gone to a variety of classes with different instructors. I was intimidated at first, but here's what I found: Nobody cares what level you're at and all of the poses have variations for different comfortability levels. You can pick and choose how far you want to push yourself which is also something that I really appreciate. 

I'm so inspired and motivated by my experience so far and I can't wait to keep up with this journey!