Saturday, August 9, 2014

Yoga Photo Dump

I started practicing yoga several years ago, but for a while it was pretty on-again, off-again. In December when we were on week 4957 of sub-zero temperatures (I hope you can tell this is dripping with frozen sarcasm), I decided to give hot yoga a try. Sweating, after weeks of freezing, was somehow appealing to me.

So was the prospect of warm feet.

Anyway, I purchased a two-week unlimited yoga pass, and went to 4 yoga classes in 2 weeks. I couldn't believe the change in my body over a two-week period--I was sleeping better, had more energy, and was way more flexible, just that quickly.

Fast forward 7 months, and I've been doing a work-exchange program with tAra Yoga (regular yoga, not bikram) twice a week. I clean the studio and check people into class in exchange for free yoga. It's pretty sweet, and I've continued to see my body, my attitude, and my perspective shift.

Tara, the owner, did one of those pose-a-day challenges, and while I did nowhere near the 31 poses, I did a handful. This is the coolest part to me about yoga--I'm pretty self-critical, and lately I've hated almost all photos of myself. I don't know if it's age, changing body, or what. I was a little hesitant to have someone photograph me in my fitted yoga clothes in weird poses, but I decided to go for it.

Upward facing bow/wheel pose

Headstand, after months of trying. 

Half-lord of the fishes pose

Low lunge

Wild Thing...this is my favorite picture of the bunch. 

Half-moon pose

The truly incredible thing about this process was that, even though it's the same body that I was so displeased with in our family picture, I'm thrilled with these pictures. I feel like the focus is taken away from "ugh my thighs are so big, my arm looks funny, I'm slouching and it makes me look fat."

Instead, I think "Look what my body can DO!"

That, my friends, is enormously empowering. I still want to go further, do more, and take my practice to the next level. But rather than my practice being about looking skinny or fitting into a smaller size jeans, it's about feeling strong in my body and being content with where I am NOW.

Do you have a particular exercise that makes you feel strong, instead of sapped? What makes you feel powerful and proud?