How I Learned to Love Yoga

Namaste friends. (okay, kinda lame I know…) I hope you had a great weekend!

I hit “publish” on this post as I was heading out to yoga — definitely needing a good stretch after yesterday’s long run… it was legit monsooning on and off all morning so I went to my parent’s gym to run on the treadmill. After some technical difficulties, I did get it done.

Anyways… I have been beginning my weeks with 6:30am Monday yoga. Two years ago you couldn’t have paid me to do this. Heck even a year ago it would have been a struggle. I was convinced yoga wasn’t for me. I was convinced there was nooo way I could move slowly, focus on my breath and calm my mind. I can’t pinpoint the exact date that I woke up and said “wow, I love yoga” but I can tell you how it happened… story time!

When I was going to school/living in Boston I lived right downtown. It was a blessing and a curse: a blessing because I love the city, a curse because my wallet hates the city. So when I had an hour to kill before class or practice I’d head to Newbury Street and shop. Oops.

Well not totally oops. Because one day I was walking along Newbury and noticed that a new Lululemon-esque store had opened up. Obviously I had to go in and check it out. After gawking over all the amazing clothes, I figured out that I was in Athleta — conveniently located four blocks from my apartment and a short walk from school. Oh yay!

Athleta

[Image source]

At the cash (oh you bet I bought a few things) I noticed there was a basket of calendars with the word free on it… yeah I may shop a lot but who doesn’t love free stuff?! It was a calendar filled with all kinds of classes offered for free right there in the store: pilates, bootcamp, running groups, ab classes, step classes and of course yoga. Count me in!

So I started going. First once a week, then twice a week, then I started rolling out my yoga mat in my apartment when I couldn’t get to a class …

Yoga feet

We always complain we never have enough time. Well I think that’s a pretty silly excuse… if it betters you then make the time. It’s a time to decompress, relax, forget about anything outside of the mat and just do you. Breathe, forget about your stresses, forget about that paper, forget about missing all those 3-pointers… just be in your own space.

As with most things, my love for yoga did not happen overnight and I am far from a perfect yogi. I am certainly not totally “mindful” or “one with my body” and I certainly have trouble staying in shavasna (the final resting pose)… I get antsy! Inversion poses also terrify me. But making the habit to go once a week, relax for that time and maybe even meet some new people has helped to transform me into a happier, healthier and calmer person.

Calm fit inspired

Fast forward to today: I joined a studio when I moved back to Toronto (I can’t mooch forever) and regularly practice hot Vinyassa and Moksha yoga. Andddd I now work once a week at my yoga studio as part of the Energy Exchange program, which is a trade program where I work one shift per week (either cleaning or assisting at the desk) in exchange for unlimited classes and to be a part of a great community. Pretty good eh? 

I had my first day of training on Saturday and am so excited to be a part of the team. I definitely plan on going more often now that I have some pretty great benefits :)

 

Questions of the day…

Yoga: yay or nay? 

If you currently practice yoga, what do you love about it?

If you aren’t a yogi (yet!) what are some other ways you calm your mind and body? 

51 thoughts on “How I Learned to Love Yoga

  1. Once I do this half marathon, I really want to dedicate some time to doing yoga at least once a week. I find it really good for my mind not just for my body and I always love it when I do it :)

    Sounds like you have a very sweet deal going with getting unlimited yoga. I need to see how I can swindle such a deal!

  2. Omg I love the idea of the energy exchange program! So amazing! I know you already know I’m a yoga lover too, but I also had to ease into it. I started with power yoga that was more of a yoga inspired workout, but it got me hooked. I’m super fidgety so for years I’ve only done faster-paced vinyasa flow classes. Only in the last six months or so have I started to add in more yin and restorative classes, but my body loves it! Love that you shared your yoga story, hopefully it inspires some non-yogis to give it a try :)

  3. I was literally the exact same way about yoga! I used to avoid it at all costs, but quickly realized after a few classes that it helps SO much with my other workouts. It also keeps my stress in check!

  4. I don’t practice yoga, strictly speaking, but I do do a lot of stretches and meditation, so that half counts, right? ;) Seriously, though, I’d actually really love to get more into yoga. I’ve tried starting up on my own, but I find that I can’t usually find enough motivation when I’m alone at home — I think I need to immerse myself in a class/group environment.

    And I love that idea of an Energy Exchange program! I wonder if we have anything like that around here…

  5. Why can’t my studio have deals like that?!?! That is such a cool program! And totally worth it!! I had the same thing happen. I wandered into my favorite yoga studio I currently attend and didn’t really like it but I went back again and again and eventually it became something that I looked forward to. I wish I had gone last night now!

  6. So proud of you for doing Energy Exchange! Must hear how it went! I also need to get my ass into a yoga studio. Haven’t done yoga (or any physical activity for that matter) in 3 weeks. Leg feels better but mentally I need some endorphins!

  7. I really want to get into yoga, but I need to join a gym or somewhere that offers yoga classes. I never thought I would like it before because I prefer to be moving a lot while working out, but I know yoga would be SO GOOD for me!

  8. What a great idea to join an energy exchange! I’ve often read about them and considered joining. A great way to save money and be part of the yoga community.

  9. Yoga: yay in a major way. I fell in love with the first real taste of yoga that I ever had. I wouldn’t trade my yoga days for anything. It calms me, stretches me out and makes me an overall more relaxed person. Once I am in a fixed area, I am totally joining the work study (aka energy exchange) programs for free class. Uhhh yoga’s only downfall may be the $$$$$$$! Have a great day Amy!

  10. I like hot yoga, but I don’t like regular yoga as much. I think the sweat factor has me convinced I’m doing more if the room is really hot! I definitely need to incorporate more yoga in my life though!

  11. The energy exchange program is so cool! Good for you for doing it.. awesome rewards. I got into yoga when I went to university and sadly I haven’t been doing it much lately. The Goodlife I just joined offers a lot of classes so I’m hoping to make a few a week!

  12. Well you know I am just dabbling in yoga, but I can definitely understand what you mean about calming your mind. I don’t know if I will ever LOVE it, but I do think I will do it again. That’s an amazing exchange program, and if I got to go to yoga for free, I would do it all the time. Probably just because I am cheap and anything free suddenly seems a lot better.

  13. I love the idea of Energy Exchange! Yoga is so relaxing and I know it’s so good for my body – there aren’t too many times that I get a chance to just slow down and focus on breathing. It’s hard to “make myself” do yoga – if I have an hour, I will almost always choose to run over yoga. BUT, when I do choose yoga, I love it, and I try to incorporate it at least once a week!

  14. I have always wanted to try an energy exchange but I worry that when I am suppose to be cleaning I’ll want to be practising yoga. Good for you for joining a studio I bet you’ll meet a lot more faces by donating your time than just attending classes. I’ve never gone to Athleta, do they have it in Canada? I love anything Free so I don’t blame you for mooching classes while you could! I’m getting better at staying with my breath but Shavasana is still very hard for me. I’m with you on the inversion poses – my arms do not have the strength to do a handstand and headstands are equally frightening! Happy Monday!

  15. It took me a long time to get into yoga! For me, I learned that I need a class environment to really commit to it – I have trouble focusing and relaxing enough to do it at home (and it doesn’t help that there’s usually a dog crawling all over me anytime I sit or lay down on the floor…). I do really like it though, even though I’m definitely not that great at it – my hamstrings are painfully tight so I’m limited a lot in my poses. But I know I get a lot of great benefits from it!

  16. I love centers that offer work exchange for classes, I think it’s a great way to involved the community. I wish I can say that I practice yoga weekly, but it’s one of those things I will do continuously for a month then forget about it for six until I go back. Maybe if I start scheduling it I will make it a permanent change in my routine. :)

    1. With most things when I went to create a habit or make a change I find it much more likely to happen if it is scheduled. I’d love to hear how it goes!

  17. I truly wish I could get into doing yoga on a regular basis but I am unable mostly due to time constraints and scheduling. Whenever I’ve done yoga, and hot yoga, I’ve felt extremely at peace and focused on my life and left class accepting situations I couldn’t necessarily change, having a positive attitude toward my everyday challenges. I just felt cleansed and really like it. I am stubborn so I don’t know how well yoga really fits into the current training program but would you say yoga has helped you with your strength?

    1. Yoga has really helped with my strength! It is incredible how much benefit doing challenging movements are for our small muscle fibers. I truly believe it has helped with my running too. If you can give your schedule a bit of wiggle room for some yoga I think that could be really great :)

  18. I have been wanting to sign up for yoga for the longest time. I have however done the yoga with my P90X, but it’s not exactly very peaceful watching the video and doing it at home! Maybe I should get some scents or something more relaxing, or just go to a Yoga studio! hehe

  19. I definitely need to start doing Yoga regularly…I probably go once a month if that. I know its sooo good for me, I don’t know why I havent been going more! Thanks for the post to get my motivated again!

  20. I’m definitely not a ‘yogi’ (think more the girl who can barely touch her toes in the back corner), but I really like it for those days when I just need to CHILL. Luckily, my work has a class during lunch, so it’s easy for me to go down at least once a week and try not to tip over.

    Funny enough, I used to think of it as giving my body a break until I woke up sore the next morning ha.

  21. This is a another reason I love your blog- 1 day its yoga, the next its an epic run, cross fit, basketball- so much variety!

    Personally, I just cannot get into Yoga- I’ve tried but it doesn’t work. The best yoga class for me was one when I arrived (dragged by a friend) they said it was cancelled. I find it hard to calm my mind in other situations- especially during sleep!

    1. Thank you Arman! I always got a little nervous that I jump from topic to topic but I like to do many things! I completely understand — it certainly takes some getting used to and to each their own :)

  22. I’ve done yoga before in a summer gym class, with Wii Fit, and have tried it on my own. I’ll have to give it a go again because for me it was calming at some parts and quite stressful at others. Haha. My favorite was the dead man’s pose. Well sort of a modified version I guess. It was just so relaxing though! And we listened to Adelle :)

  23. I was always curious how you originally got into yoga, so I loved this post! I dabbled in and out of yoga in my first year of college, but my second year I got really into Bikram yoga and went very regularly for a while. When I moved I completely fell out of all yoga, and didn’t really get back into for about a year. My practice still isn’t regular but I am working on it! I would love to find a studio near me that offers a trade agreement, price is such a factor for me when taking yoga classes.

    1. Thanks Gina! Price is definitely a tough one but maybe you can look into a trade program too? The more I research about them, the more I find. If I see anything in your neck of the woods I’ll let ya know

  24. I want to love yoga but I haven’t been able to get really into it. Probably because my mind is constantly racing with a million things I need to do and probably because I’ve only really gone to the 24 hour class which isn’t all that great. I need to try out a good studio and hopefully learn to love it!

    1. My mind is far from one at ease. And some classes are better than others — sometimes I really just can’t get that “thing” out of my head. I think a great studio is key and then connecting with an instructor really makes the world of difference.

  25. Congratulations! This job seems absolutely perfect for you. I’ve wanted to love yoga for quite sometime, however I just don’t think it’s for me. I’m not good with sitting in a quiet room (another reason why I’m not good with mediating either, Ha!) – however if you turn on Jillian Michael’s yoga DVD & put on some fun music in the background I’m all for it =)

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