After the longest time of thinking yoga was something too out there for me, too earth mother-y, too spiritual, too foreign, too much none of my business and also too boring, I feel kinda embarrassed about how much I like it. Now that I found out a little more about it. Learn and grow.
I will say that I was *quite* narrow-minded. But I really couldn’t see what this ancient practice from a very different part of the world should ever have to do with me. I don’t meditate, I don’t deal in chakras, I don’t believe in energy lines or fields running through my body. To me, yoga was either industrialized hocus-pocus or so ancient, complex and deep that I had no way of ever understanding it. However, now I found something in this practice.
To be fair and honest with you, so far I only did a 30 day online course as a personal challenge and I am in no way an expert on this topic or even a very advanced practitioner. I’m going to stick with it for the foreseeable future, though, and see where it will take me.
So, here are some of the things I (very recently) learned about “this yoga”:
-It doesn’t have to be “perfect” to be right for you. It can be a very personal thing that you can adjust to your needs, your body, your fitness level, your daily form, the time you have, the things you’re dealing with and so forth. Give yourself permission to explore and you’ll be fine.
-It’s not that serious. You can have fun while doing it. If you cannot get into that “zone”, then don’t force it. Play with it, enjoy it, have fun.
-It can make you happy. Moving in an unfamiliar way, getting into weird positions and breathing consciously can have a profound effect on your overall mood. I started doing it while in a period of adjustment (and reverse culture shock) and I was a lot more relaxed, relieved and mindful after every practice. And I was smiling.
-It may change you, but you can still be yourself while doing it. You don’t have to become “yoga-person-you”, you can just be you and also do this every now and then.
-You do not have to become a human pretzel with an Olympic gymnast’s body in order to do this. It’s okay to be squishy and stiff and to lack in the gracefulness department. You can work around it and it is still possible to enjoy yoga.
-You do not have to buy any fancy clothes, equipment, or decorative items. For 22 of my 30 days, I didn’t even have a mat. It wasn’t exactly comfortable, but it was possible. Also, I got in touch with a lot of different surfaces. Tiles, carpet, fake wood, real wood, fake grass, real grass… It was actually an interesting haptic experience, as weird as it may sound. Now that I know I want to keep doing this, I bought a reasonably priced mat (and found out that it’s possible to spend 80-120 Euros on these things. Srsly?). It’s a little less sticky than I would like it to be, but whatever. It works.
-Yoga is for the mind and the body. Well, duh. Yeah, I was actually not aware how certain movements could trigger certain feelings or emotional states. But I like it. I can feel very focused and determined in warrior 2 and very grateful in child’s pose. Wise people have developed these positions and transitions and I’d really like to find out more about what all this can do to stubborn little me.
-It’s all about awareness. Body awareness for the most part, but I think it can also take over other parts of your life, if you let it. Now I’m also more focused on my surroundings, order, minimalism, and things that are beneficial for me and others.
How did I get into this stuff in the first place?
Well, I have to mention my dear friend Autumn here (who is far more spiritual than I am and also runs this lovely project). I remember she practiced in my room when she was staying with me about a year ago. Then this summer she kindly shared a few videos and practices with me and told me a lot about her personal experience. The location may have had something to do with the effect of the session:
She also made me aware of this gem of a tumblr: yoga4drunks (which totally gets me)
So, Tuesdays I go to this Yoga I class (taught by the adorable Claudia) with my roommate Maike and my friend Inna, who also seem to be in need of some relaxation. We have gravely neglected the drinking part so far, though. Note to self: Catch up on that soon. It’s Glühwein season!
(Did I say I would take you to Rome? Next time!)