Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be one of those preachy, get fit, this-is-how-you-can-achieve-an-amazing-body posts – I don’t write that shit and a long time ago I promised you I never would – and I’m a woman of my word. I still hate the gym and refuse to run unless being chased, but I’m very aware that incorporating exercise into my hectic schedule is important. Years and years ago I discovered yoga through my best friend who is a yoga instructor. Over the years I would practice yoga whenever we hung out but I never really invested a lot of time into it, until last year.
For years now my local G.P has been encouraging me to investigate the meditative benefits of yoga. I tend to suffer from severe anxiety which manifests itself in heart palpitations which can last as long as 24 hours. While preaching to me about the benefits of a caffeine free life, my G.P also encouraged me to better manage my stress. I’ve come to realise that I will never live a stress-free life – it’s just not my nature – so I need to manage it. So last year I started attending a local yoga class once a week on the weekends.
Literally when I started a regular yoga practice just over a year ago I owned one pair of yoga pants – they were cheap, fairly ugly and came from Big W – I think I’d owned them for about ten years! Now, I own about seven pairs! Granted, my old faithful pair got a rather inappropriate hole in them so I had to buy new ones, and when I decided to incorporate a yoga practice into my work day, I needed more. I could hardly rock up to work in the same yoga pants everyday – my colleagues would think a was a filthy slob – and so my collection grew. Having said that, I don’t spend a fortune on exercise gear, opting to shop at Best & Less and Big W over more expensive brands.
I attend Tree Pose Yoga out in the north west suburbs of Sydney and I absolutely love it. A mix of personal practice and a structured class, it’s relaxed, fun and the instructors are lovely. Having recently been through some fairly stressful times (you can read about some of it here) I made some decisions with regards to how I live my life. I decided, after buying a new phone, that I would no longer receive work emails to my phone, so once I clock off, I’m clocked off. I decided to give up coffee (which at one time I had described as my one true love) and replaced it with herbal teas, and I decided to stop spending my lunch break at my desk and take myself to the local park to do some yoga.
I’ve been doing a very basic practice on my lunch breaks everyday (except when it rains) for almost two months now and it is by far the best part of my day. The simple act of getting out of the office and having that forty-five minutes to myself is amazing. I’m a much calmer and happier person for it and I can feel the benefits – both physically and mentally. I’m not saying I’m completely stress-free, but I’m learning to live with it.
What did surprise me is how much my body has changed in a year. I never started yoga as a means to loose weight, I was more concerned with being strong and healthy, and I have no idea if I’ve actually lost weight cause I never weigh myself. But I have dropped a dress size or two (although I do feel as if stress also contributed to this) and suddenly I have muscles I never knew existed. I think I may have even seen an ab the other day (yes, just one, but it may have been a shadow…) My body is stronger, I’m more flexible and feel in the best shape of my life – and all achieved through doing something I love.
The purpose of this post isn’t necessarily to convince you all to jump on the yoga bandwagon, but I do encourage you to find something you love, something that gets you outside and active, and embrace it. You don’t have to be a slave to the gym trend or listen to those people who don’t believe yoga is “real” exercise – find what works for you and just go for it.