Years ago, I thought you weren’t getting a workout unless you were lifting weights or doing some kind of cardio. So, when someone would suggest yoga to me, I would scoff and say, “That’s not a real workout.” Literally, I said that. Looking back, I can only shake my head at the lack of knowledge I had. Yoga is a true workout, but it’s so much more than that. It also offers peace and the quiet that so many of us want to bask in, especially when it feels like we can never get a moment to ourselves.
I didn’t get into yoga until I was already on the fast track to mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion. I was in a job I hated, in a season of my life where I felt lonely and isolated, and to top it off I was exercising almost 2 hours a day 6 to 7 days a week because I had nothing better to do. Everything came screeching to a halt when I started to develop heart palpitations and began crying at the drop of a hat for no reason at all. Everyday my body felt heavy and I found myself avoiding people so I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone, I just laid on the couch with the curtains drawn watching tv. I wish I could say that at night it got better, but no. I had horrible insomnia, which lasted for months. It was BAD. I finally went to my doctor and was prescribed Zoloft (antidepressant) and Trazadone (sleep). I didn’t want medication, but I felt so bad I was willing to try anything. Well, that was a crap shoot, the trazodone worked for a while, then stopped working, and the Zoloft only gave me horrible headaches (apparently its one of the side effects), so after a month, I had to stop taking it.
After all that, I saw my doctor again and this time I said no medication. And she actually listened to me and gave me alternative therapies to help with depression. One, being yoga. At this point, what did I have to lose? Nothing, I was already freaking exhausted, so I told her I’d try it. Now in all honesty, I had done a few yoga classes before but only vinyasa style because it kept me moving the whole time. I had to stop because I injured my shoulder (not from yoga, I lifted too heavy with some weights). I didn’t hate yoga, but I would get angry in the middle of the class. Thoughts would invade my mind- This is such a waste of time. I’m not sweating, I’m not burning calories. Why am I in down dog for so long! I literally hated being still! Desperate, I went to an afternoon class after work. It just so happened that one of my favorite spin instructors, Karen was teaching that class. Of course I was a little uncomfortable, but I stayed for the entire class and tried to let go of any expectations or fears that I had. Karen was fantastic. Her music was my style and her cueing was great. And after the class, I felt relaxed. Later that night, I actually fell into a deep sleep. That hadn’t happened without medicine in months. Needless to say I was in wonder, but so excited because it worked.
Because of the great response that I had to yoga, I actually ended up getting a few basic certifications in yoga to teach, but then ended up getting my 200 hours. Yoga is now a part of my life and I wouldn’t trade it. Not only is it helping my flexibility, but also helping me get quiet during meditation. I now feel extremely out of sorts, unless I get my meditation as well as really stiff if I don’t incorporate my yoga.
For those of you who are apprehensive about trying something new, like yoga. Start off with baby steps and go from there. Who knows, you may actually enjoy it so much, that you become a yoga instructor like me. But you’ll never know unless you try.