Practicing yoga is a full body workout that can also build strength, endurance and balance, increase flexibility, improve focus, reduce stress, and be life transforming.
It definitely started as a physical journey for me. After having my first son, I didn’t lose weight for almost three years. I went to Maui Hot Yoga on Lipoa where they were teaching a Bikram style. The room was 100 degrees and 26 poses later, I was sweating like I’ve never have in my entire life. I felt like I had just been wrung out like a towel, inside and out, literally. I went home, ate a huge meal, and slept like a baby. After that, I started going almost every day and was hooked. I lost weight quickly, and felt awesome! Prior to starting, I weighed close to 175lb. That might not seem like a lot, but at 4’11”, I think that was almost borderline obese. I nursed and thought I would lose weight, but it only made me hungrier. I even gained a little weight. Going to hot yoga not only helped me lose 65 lbs, but I also gained back my self-confidence and I was reminded that I can do anything. I was able to go, focus just on myself and my breath, and always left the studio feeling like I could take on the world.
The consistent practice also encouraged me to change my eating habits and really look at how I was preparing my food. I noticed that I had more energy with the more raw foods I ate.
Fast-forward 5 years later and after my second son, I was anxious to get back into the studio. (Participating in a couple month long yoga teacher trainings helped me get back to pre-pregnancy weight quickly). However, with a lack of babysitting, I wasn’t at the studio as much as I would have liked and fell into a slump. With a toddler and second grader, it is hard enough for me to squeeze anything in. I loved practicing yoga at the studio so much that when I wasn’t able to go, I would rarely practice at home and got discouraged. It was like I was using the studio as a crutch to get on with my practice and an excuse of why I couldn’t practice elsewhere. This is when I realized that you do not have to practice yoga in a studio. Yoga is everywhere!
So what does a yogi do? I started doing yoga every chance I got. I try to get in at least half an hour early morning if I am lucky to get up before the boys, but I usually end up practicing with the boys awake, anywhere I can. It used to bother me that I couldn’t practice in peace without someone asking me for something or trying to knock me over, but I realized that this was all a part of it, and soon, my boys just started joining in. My older one tries to keep up with the flows I do and my little one tries to do handstands. We also take a few minutes every morning to have a quiet moment and reflect on something we are thankful for and then share. This practice of stilling the mind, even for just a few minutes has been so beneficial for us.
My style seemed very wild and sporadic and at first I started to question if I could even call it yoga. I kept telling myself I wasn’t doing it right because I wasn’t in the studio…blah, blah, blah… When I finally did get back into the studio again, I realized that none of that mattered. I had my best class ever and felt stronger than I ever had. I figured out that I was looking at it all wrong. I realized that when I create doubts, I was already setting myself up for failure. I was reminded that my yoga is a unique, personal journey within me that goes beyond the physical. Even if I am doing it completely different than the rest of the world, that’s makes it even more special. I stopped weighing myself because how I feel inside is so much more important to me now than how I look on the outside.
Photo courtesy: Infusion Yoga Maui
Image Credit: Cadencia Photography