I'm still practicing! One year ago today I walked into Pure Prana Yoga Studio in Old Town Alexandria for my first ever class. I finally developed the courage and scrounged up the funds to start taking yoga classes, about five years after I developed an interest in it. That fateful night changed my life in a lot of ways. I started with the 12 week cycle of Fundamentals, as I was advised to. While I wondered from time to time what a lot of the fundamentals were doing to help me out, that wondering was for naught as I would soon learn the basics for yoga practice. The first twelve weeks helped me get used to doing many exercises that I may not have ever done before. Only four weeks in, I started going to Open to All classes on Sunday evenings and rarely felt like I was years behind everyone else. "I can do this!"
After the fundamentals class I decided to keep up my yoga practice as best as I could, including using DVDs at home. During week 12, I even managed to do my first headstand! Of course being self-deprecating, I was so suprised that I pulled it off that I immediated lowered my lower body to the ground. However, I remembered the lessons taught about it being my practice and I should do what I feel comfortable with at a given time, not to try to "beat anyone at the yoga game". So I ddin't get mad at myself for bailing out of the pose earlier than I would have liked to.
Vinyasa was the next step taken on the Yoga Parkway (I made that up). Vinyasa is flowing yoga, in laymen's terms it's, you're moving all of the time, even during final relaxation pose (time to work on your breathing, peeps!). When I walked out of one of my first vinyasa classes, I had the same feeling after I walked out of my first spinning class four years ago. I never want to go back! I'm too tired and beat! I'll be back next week anyway! But 8-9 months later, I have worked on my vinyasa "skills", taken some jivamukti classes, and went to a restorative-based class when they starting having them at my old apartment complex. I try to do 15-20 minutes of basic yoga when I wake up each workday morning as well.
Am I ready to go to teacher training? Not by a long shot. Am I doing regular headstands? No, I've only completed two headstands since the first one at the end of fundamentals. So it's not part of my regular practice yet by any means. Am I happy with my progress? Absolutely! Even though "progress" isn't the goal, I am very happy with how much yoga has helped me. It's helped me relax about as much as anything can. I'm more flexible than I used to be, that's for sure. And I only takes me a couple dozen steps to get loose during running instead of two miles. Not bad considering I would have been happy if people even knew my name after a year!
As I reflect on my one year anniversary as a yoga practicioner, I've been thinking of how yoga and running have pretty much taken over my non-work life. As Greenie from Denver said, those are good things to take over your life. I'm still 50 pounds lighter than I was on January 1, 2008 and while I would like to make that 60-65 without losing muscle and overall strength, not to mention has stronger abs, I've pleasantly suprised myself with how I have been able to keep the weight off.
Now how can I continue to grow into this practice? That's the new question. For now, it's time to celebrate tonight!
Time to celebrate the one year anniversaty of my yoga debut by..........
Going to Pure Prana for an Expanded Vinyasa class!