Yoga Challenge: Check!

Very, VERY similar to the set-up from last Wednesday!

I am going to do my level best to keep this post short, it seems the last several have read like novellas!

At the beginning of April I challenged myself to participate in a yoga class.  You might be asking either one or both of the following questions:

1.  Why?

2.  Why is this challenging in the first place?

Before I answer those questions, let’s set the record straight as to what are the purported benefits of regular yoga practice:

  • increases flexibility
  • builds muscle strength
  • calms the mind
  • improves concentration
  • promotes patience
  • betters bone health
  • increases blood flow
  • boosts immunity
  • drops blood pressure
  • improves balance
  • promotes deeper sleep
  • increases self-esteem

To name but a few.  Plus several of my wise and trusted fellow bloggers write persuasively of how well yoga and meditation deepen the commitment to/enrich the experience of sobriety.

So that should answer the first question.  As to question 2, since millions of people take yoga classes every day (a non-scientific figure, mind you, but I imagine it’s a fair enough guess), what’s the big deal?  Just buy a Groupon and take a class!

Not so simple, if you are as self-conscious as I am with physical things such as an exercise class.  I was terrified!

But a series of coincidences-that-aren’t-really-coincidences came up, and a yoga and meditation center opened up not five minutes from my house, and I knew I had to put my insecurities aside and give this a shot.  It took 29 days to muster up the courage (and clear the schedule of kid sports), and it took wrangling my husband to come with me (partially as support, partially because I feel like he could use some of these benefits as well), but on Wednesday, April 29th, I took my first Svaroopa yoga class.  And please don’t ask to pronounce that name.  How did it go?

Well, I’m no expert, but I’d say it went pretty well!  First, the teacher was very kind.  She had compassion for my nervousness, and took time to explain what would happen in the 90 minute class, and answered my 802 questions patiently.

I feel accomplished for completing the class; specifically, completing each of the poses she taught us.  Possibly the biggest fear I had going in was either:

  • not being able to do something at all, or, worse yet
  • trying to do something and getting stuck in a position permanently

So it felt great being able to do it all, the same as everybody else.

I also felt fairly relaxed when I left, almost as if I had had a massage.

There were a few downsides, most of which would probably go away if I committed to practicing yoga regularly:

  1. Soreness:  I had a terrible neck ache and butt ache for a few days following.  I’m certain I overstretched something, but still, ouch!
  2. Fear of embarrassment:  Alright, I’m just going to be real here.  I was paranoid about passing gas while in some of the postures, and that terror kept me from being fully present in the experience.  I’m not quite sure how to correct that one (eat nothing for 12 hours before class?  Or just let one rip and accept the embarrassment?)
  3. Preoccupation with getting the posture correct:  At times I was so concerned about my posture I missed the opportunity to enjoy the moment.  Again this con would likely go away with practice.

So there you have it.  The question becomes:  will I go back?  I definitely would do it again, though I’m unsure if I’m willing to pay the price this particular studio is charging.  I may try several studios in the area, as I’m sure most would offer a free trial class.

However… I have a bonus story to add-on to the yoga experience:

In leaving I took note of a meditation class that was starting up the following week (this past Monday), and my husband surprised me with an early Mother’s Day present by signing me up for it!  I went Monday night for 2 hours, learned all sorts of interesting techniques, got to connect with a group of like-minded people, and successfully meditated for 20 minutes. And that was just class one, I still have 2 more to go!  Our homework was to repeat the practice each day, and so far I have been able to successfully complete 20 minutes of meditation at home.  It is incredible how much personal instruction has improved my ability, and I am only 4 days into the new practice.  The gift that will keep on giving!

Today’s Miracle:

The incredible group over at addiction.com included me again in an article.  Check it out, and the rest of the website!

http://www.addiction.com/9655/what-i-wish-id-known-when-i-first-got-sober/

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Posted on May 7, 2015, in Intermediate Recovery, Recovery, Self-Care and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. that’s a fantastic summary Josie of your first yoga class – I really appreciate your perspective. and yes, I would have been worrying about, ahem, the same things as you. in the North of England that’s called ‘trumping’ by the way which causes consternation in the South where that phrase is only used in the game of bridge 😉 well done on your bravery and am so pleased you are enjoying meditation! Prim xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Prim, nothing delights me more than learning regional jargon, I will use trumping the next time I… well… trump 🙂

      Thanks so much for the positive feedback, I feared a lack of understanding on why this was scary in the first place. Which, after blogging for 3 plus years, should have never entered my mind, because someone ALWAYS understands!

      Great to hear from you, Prim!

      Like

  2. Yay!!! I’m so excited for you! And I would definitely try a few different styles of yoga.
    You will quickly feel less self conscious. And, generally, that “need to fart” feeling seems to go away. Although people do fart at yoga. And life goes on.

    And meditation! You are really opening a new door and peering in! I think you will find a place for both in your life. Breathing is just so life affirming and calming!

    I’m so happy you tried. How can we know what we need if we never try different things? That’s awesome.

    Anne

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am definitely going to try different styles, as I’m coming to understand there are some significant differences in the philosophies. I am even more excited about the meditation… so far have meditated each day this week, and when I tell you worlds different than in the past, I am not exaggerating!

      I will keep you updated, and thanks a million for the encouragement to try these new ventures, Anne!

      Like

  3. Awesome! Yoga has been such an important part of my recovery that I recently completed a teacher training program. As for the soreness, listen to your body and use props. Yoga should feel good, like work, sure. It should never hurt. You’ll find your edge. Give yourself time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jill, and congratulations on the training program, I wish you could train me! The soreness is already gone, and I’m sure I was simply overreaching, the teacher herself said it should never hurt. Time I will give myself!

      Thanks for the comment!

      Like

  4. I still haven’t gained the nerve to try a yoga class, though I’ve been using yoga DVD’s at home for several years now, off and on. It seemed natural to add it to my recovery process. My body is stronger and more flexible(wish I could say the same for my mind 😉 ) So happy you’re enjoying the meditation class!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve been doing yoga at home (cheaper, private and convenient) through a YouTube channel. I follow ‘Yoga with Adriene’. She’s simply fantastic. Maybe that’s an idea?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Untipsyteacher

    I LOVE yoga!
    I get sore all the time!
    The mediation class is cool too!
    I love it all!
    Hugs!
    Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I commiserate with anyone who hates public displays of physical ineptitude disguised as exercise classes as much as me. I have always been uncoordinated, even my mother told me so, and I think that is the only negative thing she ever said to me. I am currently attempting something called the Kettle bell swing-squat thrust, which sounds like a dandy name for a new dance move, in the privacy of my own home. I’m sure if I posted a video, it would go viral, and cause several minor accidents involving urine leakage in women of my age group.

    Good for you going forth and conquering, mind if I just watch?

    Like

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