My yoga story may be not as interesting as my running story but for me it is just as important. As I've mentioned before I was never the athletic type and I grew up convinced that sports & me just weren't meant to be.
At school I never joined a team, I was never into after school activities and when I started college all I did as an effort to beat the laziness was to get a membership at a nearby gym -of course that didn't last long-. So as I got older (and based on previous experiences) I started to see myself as the anti-sports girls who even took pride in saying she was bad at any athletic activity!
Looking back I can now confess that it was sort of hurtful to acknowledge the fact that I was REALLY BAD at something and to have the hopeless feeling that I was never going to succeed - I think am sure that had a negative impact on my self esteem.
One thing I liked from the gym is that they had yoga classes and I started joining them every day I could. The classes were pretty basic and the teacher didn't explain much of what was happening but I liked the personal experience I got from it (i.e. not having to compete/race/beat anybody). But the classes didn't justify the gym membership so I quit a few months later.
It all changed when I tried running and long story short: running changed my life, it changed me and it changed how I saw myself as I wasn't the less then average girl anymore! Instead I became the -I will make myself run this far today- girl.
Needless to say I am still an average runner (more on the slow end) and nowhere near to considering myself a professional athlete but I no longer have the hopeless feeling of never succeeding.
It was hard for me to get into running and as I started to get more serious about it I became prone to injuries -shin splints to be specific-. The first time I got shin splints I couldn't describe the pain I felt making it impossible for me to google it! It was sort of an electric shock inside my calves but behind the bone...it was scary!! I went to the doctor and he gave me a proper diagnosis. Since I got them the first time I tried changing shoes, stretching before and after running, icing and even therapy when it got really bad. The worst part about getting shin splints is that they slow me down in my training and there was also the psychological battle where I thought if I stopped running I would lose everything I had accomplished.
Stretching, stretching and more stretching. I even made my friends stretch with me so I wouldn't look like the only stretch-obsessed newbie.
I remembered my yoga classes and thought some of that stretching (yes, I was obsessed) would help me. I looked on-line and read that yoga could help runners in many other ways so I decided I would take up yoga again only this time I would be serious about it. I found a yoga studio and took their Introduction to Yoga class. This was a one teacher one student class and the point was to teach me some basic postures and measure my level.
I would have never imagined but to my surprise...I was good at it! I was so good my teacher even asked my if I had been a ballet dancer or a gymnast as a child -of course I almost bursted into tears right there- I had never EVER received a compliment regarding my physical activities. THIS WAS A MAJOR BOOSTER FOR ME! I even did a head stand (with the help of a wall of course) on my very first class. I came in with the whole no-I-can't-I'm-scared-attitude but my teacher encouraged me and next thing I know I was on! my! head!
I still get excited remembering that day, it certainly marked my love for yoga. It's been little more than a year (one year one month to be precise) and I've realized that yoga can be a physical activity and a lifestyle as well.
Yoga is associated with eating healthy, having a peaceful state of mind and being grateful...just to name a few.
Isn't this a lifestyle? Yes. Is it beneficial? Absolutely!
I emphasise this because I grew up in a christian home and my own family has been rather skeptical whenever I mention the benefits of yoga. The truth is yoga is a personal practice and it can be as spiritual as I want it to be just as running can be as spiritual as I want it to be!
For me practicing and studying yoga has been about learning to heal myself through exercise, stimulating the mind, having control of my emotions and embracing the moment -being here, now-. It has taught me so much that one of my goals is to become a yoga instructor and hopefully in this blog I will tell the story of how I became one.
P.S. I am happy to say that shin splints are gone.
In 2012 I went to Costa Rica to get my Teacher Training Certification. I am officially a yoga teacher now.
You can read my jungle adventure here