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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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