Recently the BlogHer Facebook page asked “Have you tried yoga? What is your favorite pose?” and since I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while, there’s no better time like the present. I’ve been practicing yoga for a little over a year now; it was always one of those things I was curious about, but when a studio opened just up the street from my apartment, I really had no excuse not to try. I practice Hatha yoga, which is the classic pose-oriented practice. It’s really about learning the correct pose and how deeply to go into each one. I originally thought that maybe yoga would be helpful in trying to heal my neck, which has misaligned vertebrae due to stress related muscle spasms. I thought the meditative aspects of yoga would help me calm down and possibly help reduce my neck pain. So far it’s helping and I love the challenge of trying something new that is good for me. I’ve also found that my flexibility has increased (a little bit anyway) and it’s good for me to stretch out since I have such a sedentary job. At first I was a bit embarrassed because our classes aren’t based on skill level and I’m always the rookie in the class. My instructor is good about pointing out changes I need to make to my poses, and for a while I felt self conscious about that. It seemed like everyone else could stick their left big toe in their right ears except me, but that’s not what yoga is about. It’s about finding your center and making a choice to become stronger and more relaxed. We’re always asked to reflect on our intentions before we start and I really like that part because it makes me focus on why I’m really doing it.
I’m not trying to impress anyone, I’m trying to stay healthy and find a calming influence that can help me handle stress. I’m constantly finding that I can do things now that I couldn’t do before (like holding a plank pose for more than a few seconds) and I’ve noticed my muscle tone, especially in my hamstrings, is improving. I pretty much enjoy all the poses, though downward dog is a bit hard on my wrists for whatever reason. The one pictured above is dancer pose and it’s my favorite one. I also enjoy the poses that open up my hip flexors and the twist poses like the one pictured below. With my schedule, I usually only get to yoga on Sunday afternoons, but that hour and fifteen minutes is my quiet meditative time to send positive vibes into the universe, and I’m really glad I took this on, even if sometimes I feel like I’m the stiffest, least limber klutz in the room.