Yoga is hard. Yoga takes discipline. Yoga can be downright frustrating. It took years for me to commit to a regular yoga practice because of this. I included it as part of a larger fitness regime and was in and out of practice, but it was not my focus until a few years ago. I desperately wanted to integrate it into my everyday life but just couldn’t wrap my head around it for a couple of reasons. First, I felt like I really needed to be doing fast-paced workouts like bootcamps and runs to stay in shape. Secondly, and as I said before, yoga is hard. It takes patience, concentration, and surrender.
Listening to hip hop and bouncing around a room is easier for me. As a high-energy person I get the benefit of the workout right away. Yoga, on the other hand, challenged my natural instinct to want to move fast and get that heart pumping immediately. I also wanted to “do” all of the poses from the start and was frustrated that I couldn’t. Headstands, crow and the many other challenging asanas looked awesome and I felt frustrated that they didn’t just happen. I was not patient enough to practice at the beginning, but I was intrigued.
I intuitively felt that yoga and I would be a great match, and I continued to return to it. Sometimes doing 2 or 3 classes a week and other times going months without it. It took years and a teacher training course to fully appreciate yoga’s benefits.
I still love to run and occasionally pop into a cardio class. They’re fun, the music makes it go by quickly and I feel fantastic afterwards. The reward with yoga, however, was that the benefit came after class, and with time I realized my yoga high lasted long after I got off the mat. The advantages revealed themselves in a way that no other workout could. A run feels amazing, spin class feels worthwhile, but yoga feels transformative. Yoga fills me with energy and optimism in all facets of my life. Patience on the mat, means (more) patience at home with my kids. Gratitude and optimism in class transfers to relationships with family and friends…usually. Once that started to click with me, the devotion that so many others develop for yoga all made sense.
Seeing an improvement in my focus and patience has realized itself in other areas – I’m not going to just be good at things or just know things through osmosis. Hard work and dedication is key. Yoga has helped me realize that I can achieve other goals. Yoga has taught me patience and discipline; that consistency pays off. Yoga has minimized my frustrations because I realize I can’t achieve without practicing. That is one of those mysteries of yoga – it takes wading through frustration to get to the moment of peace where it all starts to make sense.