Yoga: My journey

It seems like everyone likes yoga. I don’t know that I’ve ever met someone who has practiced yoga and not liked it. Well, except for myself initially.

Years and years ago, I walked into a yoga studio ready for my very first yoga class. I was nervous, mainly about passing gas, since I’d heard of people doing that. I wasn’t sure how flexible I would be or how long I’d be able to hold downward dog. It was hard getting through that first class. The teacher kept telling us to clear our minds and focus on our breathing. While everyone around me looked to be achieving that, I was going through my to-do list in my head and thinking where I needed to be next. I had no idea how to clear my head and focus on my breathing. Shoot, I was doing good just holding the positions and not falling over.

When that class ended, I realized that yoga was not for me. I didn’t get the whole peaceful and calm thing from it and I wasn’t sure that “stretching” (for lack of better words) was really a form of exercising. I went many years without attempting to do yoga again because I just knew that it was not for me.

Thanks Bob Harper.

bob harper yogaThen I saw a sale online for workout DVDs by Bob Harper. The DVDs were so cheap and I bought many, including Yoga for the Warrior. I thought, “What the heck, I’ll try it for $5”. I probably waited a good year before ever putting the DVD in the player, but I liked this yoga DVD from the beginning. I’m not sure if there was anything different in this video versus the yoga class I tried out, or if I was just in a different place, but what a great workout it is!

And my thinking earlier about yoga not being a workout… HA! Boy is that not true. Yoga is the most challenging of workouts and I get the most out of it. I just feel good when I’m done. I feel at peace with myself and I’m proud of myself because I can do the hard positions and I don’t fall. (You should have seen me at the beginning… I would attempt everything, but would fall over almost immediately.) It makes me realize how strong I am because I see how far I’ve come.

My list of things to do still pops in my head during the hour that I do yoga, but that’s fine with me. Maybe I’m not able to totally zone out and clear my head, but that’s probably because I have a four-year old running around most days when I do yoga. The other day I was doing the standing splits and balancing on my right foot while both hands were wrapped about my ankle and a truck zoomed past me. It doesn’t matter that Gavin has his own room with toys and a playroom full of toys upstairs. Nope, he wants to be where his momma is and that’s fine with me. Luckily I didn’t fall down and my bones are still intact.

The best part is when Gavin wants to do different poses with me. It’s fun to do it together and know that I’m teaching him about exercise and taking care of himself. And, for the record, I still don’t know anyone that doesn’t like yoga, including myself.

Reformer Pilates, oh how I love you!

pilates reformer machineI remember the first time I ever saw a reformer machine. I was joining a new gym and was on a tour with the staff member when she stopped in front of a room with about five machines that I had never seen before. She told me this was the reformer pilates room and started explaining about it. I honestly don’t know what she said because I couldn’t stop looking at the machine. I’d never seen anything like it before and, quite honestly, it looked like some kind of a sex table instead of exercise equipment. I totally judged the room and didn’t give reformer pilates a second thought.

Fast-forward a couple of years and I bought a Groupon for an exercise class called “Booty Barre”. I’d never heard of booty barre before, but who wouldn’t want to have an amazing butt?! I was really excited about the class and went every time I could. Part of the Groupon also included a few private sessions on the reformer and I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t as excited to set that appointment up.

I’m not sure what it was, but I was extremely intimidated by the reformer. I am strong with cardio and even weights, but I didn’t know how I would be on the reformer… and the unknown kind of freaked me out a bit. The Groupon was about to expire, so I called to set up my first appointment.

Jumping Onto The Pilates Reformer Machine

The day came and I stepped into the Pilates studio I’d been going to for months, but this time was different and I was so nervous. I didn’t want to fail or be weak, but I tried to keep an open-mind. I got on the reformer and did some exercises and thought, “Hey, this isn’t that bad. It’s actually kind of fun!”

The hour of my private session went by so quickly and I could not wait to sign up for my next one. I loved it. I did my next private session the following day and was sore. I felt sore in muscles I didn’t know I had! It was a good sore though – like a “this is going to change my body” kind of sore and I was hooked.

Once my private sessions were over, I purchased a package and have been dedicated ever since! I absolutely love it. In the past, I’d measure an exercise by the amount of sweat that poured off (I sweat a lot!) of me and by my breathing. Reformer pilates made me realize that you can get an amazing workout without sweating all over the place.

But don’t get me wrong, just because you don’t sweat a ton does not mean it’s an easy workout. It’s not at all. It’s super challenging in ways you didn’t know were possible. Your whole body changes over time and it’s such a positive workout. If you were like me and a bit intimidated by the reformer machine, don’t let it get in your way. Sign up for a private session to learn about it and to familiarize yourself with the machine. I promise you will be so happy you did and I’m sure you will love it just as much as me!