Need Not Love Dogs

Downward dogs, that is.

At the start of my leave, I joked about picking up a yoga habit. But then I thought, why not? Lots of people swear by its ability to help them focus and relax–people I actually know, not just celebrities who claim that they lost the baby weight by going to yoga twice a week–and if there was one thing I needed to learn to do a few months ago, it was to relax.

I was cheap and went for the yoga classes at my gym. Not to knock the teachers at my gym, but you get what you get when you’re going to a class that’s just marked “yoga” on the schedule. (Of course I didn’t know this at the beginning.) Maybe your gym has more refined or advanced yoga options, but at my cut-rate Bally’s, you get “yoga,” and whatever teacher or sub is there that day, and whatever positions they want to do.

So I struggled my way through several vinyasa classes, figuring that I’d heard about sun salutations and proud warrior and downward dog, and I assumed that that’s what yoga classes were. I sweated and fretted over how my tight hamstrings wouldn’t let me get into a proper down dog–at least not dozens of times over the course of an hour–and not looking for attention or criticism, I feared when the teacher would come over (and, of course, she did).

Those vinyasa classes are the right fit for lots of people (including, by the looks of it, many of my classmates). But they just weren’t right for me. I have pavement and treadmills and elliptical machines if I want to sweat and get my heart rate up. So I took to Google, in search of the many yoga studios I know are in this area, and classes that sounded a little more my speed.

This week, I found what I was looking for, just 10 minutes from my front door. Part of me was frustrated; why hadn’t I sought out this type of place months ago? Just think how much more relaxed I could be by now! But the rest of me–maybe the more rational, kinder part of my brain–remembered that I had a few other things going on over the last few months, that maybe finding my way to the gym classes was as much as I could handle.

Either way, I’m where I need to be now. I’ve already made it to two classes that I walked away from feeling 100 times better than any of the other sweaty classes I took in the past few months. I got some good stretches in, yes, but it was the workout for my mind–the part of yoga that made me a little squeamish all those months ago when I was joking around–that left me feeling so good.

I knew I’d found the right place when the teacher, upon seeing a member of the class struggling with a balancing pose, said, “We all fall over. That’s life, falling over and getting back up. Some days are better than others. Find a wall if you need it.” 

Falling over, and getting back up. Sounds about right.

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