Smile Politely

The Yoga Experiment, Week ?: What happened?

Recently, a lot of people have been asking me what happened with The Yoga Experiment.

For those of you just tuning in, the plan was this: In January of 2010, I made a resolution to give yoga a fair chance. I had tried it before and disliked it, but I was sure that if I put an honest effort into it, I would grow to love yoga, and become bendier and healthier. I started attending yoga classes at the Living Yoga Center five times a week. I made new friends, and over the first five months, I did, in fact, become a lot more flexible and relaxed. I found that I could move my body in ways that I never would have expected, and I gained an incredible amount of strength. I was working my way into some of the more difficult postures, and I felt comfortable in my body. I was also delving into some Yogic philosophy, and I was starting to understand the process at an even deeper level.

Then, as with a lot of my once-favorite pastimes, I got burned out. In June, I fell while I was walking my dogs, and I sustained an injury that made it painful for me to bend my knee for about two weeks. By then, the damage was done. I got out of the routine, and I have only been back a handful of times.

But in the six months that I haven’t done yoga, I have started to appreciate how important yoga really is, and how much it changed my life for the time period that I was devoted to it.

When you’ve come so far, it can be easy to forget where you started from. I’m not as mellow as I was during the heydays, I find that stress gets to me a lot easier, and I have trouble focusing on a particular task sometimes. In the last six months, I have felt my lower back tighten up in a major way, and I have noticed that if I want to look at something to my side, I often need to turn my whole body, because my neck is so stiff. All of the little aches and pains that used to bother me before yoga have crept back in; I groan when I have to pick something up off of the floor. My arms and legs get numb a lot more often. And yes, I’ve gained a little bit of weight back.

I used to think that these things were all a part of getting older, but now I realize that they exist only because I have not been treating myself properly. I’ve been telling my massage clients recently that while massages are great, yoga is really the way to go. Doing yoga doesn’t mean that you’ll never have sore muscles, but when you practice on a regular basis, you’re keeping your body tuned up so that a lot of these problems are just a non-issue.

My life is a lot different now than it was a year ago when I decided to start The Yoga Experiment. In August, I went back to school to finish my Bachelor’s degree in Religion (with a critical focus on western religions). I’m doing the Parkland thing right now, but fingers crossed, next year I’ll transfer to the U of I. I’m phasing out the massage, and gearing up for a potential career in academia. I have moved my focus from the physical plane to the philisophical/metaphorical, and maybe this is why I need yoga back in my life more than ever. I need it to ground me and keep me sane while I move through this new territory.

Within the next few weeks, I hope to find my way back to the mat. In 2011, I will post updates, but I’m not going to be rigid or puritanical about it, like I tried to be in 2010. Maybe that was part of the problem, we all need to allow ourselves to go with the flow. Stay tuned.


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