Falling in Love with Yoga and Finding My Balance

tree_pose-impThis year, as I turned 46, I made being strong my goal as a way to challenge myself and to mix things up. Working out for over 35 years, the routine of going for the same runs and doing the same classes can get a little boring, so trying new things is essential to keep me motivated. Last year I tackled my first triathlon and a Half Ironman, nothing like a 2km swim, 90km bike ride and 21k run challenge! This year I wanted to slow it down, look within and get serious about my personal and physical strength.

I ramped up my weight workouts at the gym and made a commitment to a yoga studio for a one month trial membership where I could do as many classes as I liked for the month.   It turns out, I may be getting stronger from the yoga more than from the weights.

I have tucked my yoga mat under my arm and walked to classes at my neighbors house one night a week for years but to me, this regular class was just about stretching after a long run and a chance to see friends. Only recently has the concept of it being a personal ‘practice’ begun to sink in.

As I look back over the last 6 years I have casually been doing yoga, I realized that my yoga mat has been quite the world traveler.

yoga-impIt has been packed in my suitcase to attend a conference across the country where the focus was on wellness and included a few hours of reflection on the mat.

I have done fun yoga classes with my kids and awkwardly attempted sun salutations on a Paddle Board in the middle of a lake resulting in wet yoga.

I have done hot yoga where sweating is the key to lose muscles and the towel atop my mat looked as though it fell into that lake.

I have attended a yoga event at the Ritz Carleton to introduce a new BYoga mat, and at a Lululemon store to see the latest in new active wear.

I have done tree pose atop a peak in Algonquin Park and, just last week, joined my husband for his first yoga class at the gym we have belonged to for years.

I am getting into this yoga thing.

Byogamat-impI have realized there are many different kinds of yoga, different yoga teachers, different levels of reflection and so many opportunities to find what is right for you. I have learned that yoga mats can be thick or thin, made of harmful chemicals or eco friendly and the right yoga mat can be the difference between enjoying hot yoga and sliding through hot yoga as having a ’grippy’ mat does matter.

The more yoga I do the more I realize there is so much more to yoga. I am realizing that what I have taken for granted all these years has been giving me time to build strength and also to be quiet. To think about nothing more than my breathing, to feel my body move and my mind be still.

For someone who is as active as I am, I resisted yoga for years. Thinking it was not for me. As life gets busier I realize that yoga has become my time to build my inner strength, to connect with myself and refresh for what lies ahead.

My mat has become the foundation from which all my poses are rooted and my balance is truly found.