I’ve been spending a lot of time here lately, but I didn’t always love yoga.
I’d tried many yoga studios in New York, and they were all fine, but there was no place that I was dying to keep returning to. Some were too fast or too difficult, some were too pretentious and some were just not the right fit for me.
I started having panic attacks in September, and my therapist and Alicia both kept bringing up yoga. At first, I think I was afraid I’d ended up a sobbing mess on the mat, so I was reluctant to try again, but I eventually gave Laughing Lotus a try in January and yoga was just much more right for me this time.
I’m more attuned to my breath. Over the past few months, I’ve began meditating on a regular basis, and this has helped tremendously in yoga. I mostly do vinyasa yoga, which is breath-synchronized movement, so coming in with better skills at focusing on my breath made yoga much easier than it’s been in the past for me.
I stopped competing. I’m not going to lie, I’m a competitive person. I always knew that yoga was about doing your own thing, at your own pace, but that’s easier said than done when you’re in a class of lithe yogis who can hold every single pose flawlessly. Though I’m getting better at yoga, that’s still not me. But this time around, I knew I was doing yoga for the mental benefits, and I knew that looking at the person next to me or in front of me wouldn’t do anything to help my yoga, so I let this go and started doing my own thing, and, what do you know – I started getting better and enjoying it more. Weird, right?
I stopped being so hard on myself. In running, I push myself hard and set big goals for myself. While there’s a few yoga poses I want to get better at (crow, full wheel, headstand/handstand, I’m looking at you), I have stopped getting frustrated when I can’t get into these or other poses, or if I’m feeling a little wobbly one day. Respecting your mind, body and their limits is a huge part of yoga, and I have finally embraced this. Maybe one day I will get one of these poses, but until then, I’m just going to keep doing what I can and just focus on the breathing and what I can do.
I got a mat I really like. This is a dumb and superficial reason, but hey, it helped, too. I got a gift card to Lululemon for my birthday, so I invested in a mat that I love. It’s heavy, and it smells a little rubbery, but it’s really thick and cushy and my hands never slip, and it’s a really soothing green, and it just makes me want to use it.
I found the right place. Laughing Lotus is not pretentious, not super-hippie (but not super not-hippie either…and I kind of like that) and doesn’t take itself too seriously, so I enjoy going there. It’s also convenient for me, which makes a big difference.
Do you like yoga? How did you get into it?