I started doing (I mean practicing) yoga several years ago after I quit the gym. When I sat down and did the math, I realized that the gym was way too expensive for what I was getting out of it. So, off I went to the local yoga studio; I heard it was a really good workout and that yes, I would sweat despite it not being cardio exercise. I figured I could squeeze in a couple of classes a week in between my work and my kids.
I could barely walk after my first few classes. It was an unbelievable workout, and I could see and feel my body getting toned and even stronger. (Note: I do not consider myself to be a strong person.) No amount of time on the treadmill or elliptical machine had ever made me feel that sore — in a really good way! I did, however, feel a bit uncomfortable at the beginning of class when the other students chanted “om” or, harder for me, “om shanti om” and again when the class ended and everyone placed their hands in prayer position and bowed saying “namaste” in unison to the teacher. I sort of hummed a little nothing during that awkward moment for me, kind of like what I do when I hear a song on the radio and don’t really know the words, but don’t want to miss out on the fun.
I’ve never been a particularly religious or even spiritual person. I believe in science and use facts to prove my points — like if you do a certain amount of downward dog and plank poses, you will build upper body strength. That made sense to me. But somehow over the years of consistently doing (whoops I mean practicing) yoga, I started to get into the spiritual aspect of the practice too. I started to bow my head and say “namaste” with the rest of the class telling myself that I was just so exhausted that I would say anything. But that wasn’t true. I felt compelled to say it, and “om” and even “om shanti om.” I waited to greet my teacher’s eyes at the end of class as a way of saying thank you, and I meant it. Continue reading >>