Confession time: I’m a Type A personality. As in, I need to be in charge at all times. I always feel like I need to have my life together for the outside world, and I have a hard time accepting defeat. I like to (rather pridefully) think I can do everything myself. Somehow.
About a month ago, R and I decided to try a class at local yoga school that opened by our university. We’ve been trying to get our fitness routines to align for years to no avail. I want to spend hours riding horses, he wants to spend hours lifting weights. I think my max time at the gym is 30 minutes. Including locker room time. And don’t even get me started on going for runs together – R can run six miles easy. My short legs make one mile a challenge. And frankly, I don’t think our downstairs neighbors would enjoy us rocking out to Jillian Michaels DVDs.
So yoga it was. Neither of us had ever taken a yoga class (beyond a short high school gym unit in which the teacher popped in a video tape and wheeled the TV in front of 30 yoga mats) so we had no idea what to expect going into our Level 1 Hot Vinyasa class.
The first experience was… addictive. That day, I felt the workout aspect of yoga. My muscles were positively shaking, and I looked like I had just stepped out of a pool, so much was the sweat running all over my body. But walking out, I felt loose and limber. I carried myself a little taller, I felt a little lighter.
We returned. Were told to challenge ourselves and go beyond Level 1 classes.
And that’s when Candlelight happened. Candlelight classes, of course, vary depending on who is teaching them. But my very first class was a combination of the most intense workout I’ve ever had – the kind where you’re running on willpower and strength of mind, because your body gave out long ago – and you stop. You stop thinking about the mirrors and the other people who are holyshitsomuchbetteratthishowdotheybendthatway? and just listen to your body. All the outside thoughts of the Type A personality are gone. It’s just the sweat, music, candlelight, your pounding heart, the instructor’s voice, and the smell of the incense.
I could go on about the health benefits. I could tell you about how I have muscles in places I didn’t know muscles existed, and how my energy levels have skyrocketed. But I’d do yoga even without those things. I will continue to do yoga, because it is me time. I’m not staring at a computer screen, or studying until the words bleed, or shooting morphine into a resident’s mouth. I’m not thinking about doing any of those things that day, or the next, I just am. And so, my advice to you is to just do. Just try. Trust me, it’s worth it.