Updated: Aug 15
I've been meaning to write this blog for a while. Not because I feel like I have to, or have been asked to... but with a When Harry Met Sally fervor... 'When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible!' So with the joy of Christmas morning, the exuberance of Ebenezer Scrooge handing out turkeys, I would like to officially proclaim MY LOVE OF YOGA!!!!! AHHHHH!!! HOLY CRAP, YOU GUYS!!!!! I FREAKING LOVE.... THIS..... SHIIIIIIT!!!!
*80's aerobic jazz dance*
If you had told me years ago that, I'd be downward dogging it regularly, I would have laughed in your face. Not because I didn't find value in it but because I am a short hobbit of a person that loves to eat and bake pastries, having worked many years as a baker. And while a bit bougie in that regard, I will put ranch on anything. I mean... I love to hike, move my body, dance, etc., but when I look in the mirror I don't exactly see the spandex/messy hair bun/smoothie girls from LA looking back at me. And yet, here I am going 125 times a week with sheer joy in my heart. It... is... ASTOUNDING.
In all seriousness, it's been... a year. (It's been a few years, who are we kidding). And while I've done yoga a few times before at various retreats, I truly believe yoga is like a good book. It comes into your life when you need it most, when you're ready. And oooh, dawgie, have I been ready.
So if you'll indulge me, here are my favorite reasons why yoga is my new boyfriend.
1) MY BODY IS CHANGING!!!
I know this is obvious but in just ONE MONTH, my body is transforming in ways that it hasn't with other workouts, walking, hiking, whatever... I'm getting "slimmer, faster, better, stronger..." *cue Kayne*
I've been walking for years after childbirth and while I've gone through various stages of body fitness, I haven't felt powerful or strong in aaaaages. No-- I haven't felt POSSIBLE in my body in ages. Two days ago, I was walking at the lake and came across a giant swarm of gnats and had to outrun them for a moment. But that moment of a few feet led to a few feet further and I was like, "Holy crap, it doesn't feel like death to JOG."
That might sound like a 'duh' moment for you but when you feel that moment in your body, it can be a glimmer of hope that transports you back in time. For a brief second I was transported back to highschool when I used to run for 'fun.' My friend Hannah and I would finish up at the local stop & shop/deli and after closing, we'd go run under the stars at the track. To feel like a glimmer of that person before life took some turns, felt hopeful and freeing...
Coming back into my body (and more gnats-- the struggle is REAL), I was desperate for a headset and some good tunes to just RUN and dance and high five around the lake like Joseph Gordon Levitt in 500 Days of Summer. Feeling this way... is blowing my mind.
Getting back in shape, with my kangaroo mom pouch and flaps and bobbles, has literally felt impossible. Feeling strength and energy in my body again, thanks to all of that core work, makes me feel POSSIBLE. And I freaking LOVE THAT. CAPLOCKS, WITCHES!!
2) HEALTH BENEFITS:
Post childbirth, I've had some pretty nasty sciatic pain down the sides of my body and on my lower back. The first couple sessions I thought I might have to stop going because I couldn't do as much as I wanted. But very quickly, most of that pain went away. Yoga has helped immensely in the healing process of that sciatica! Sooo grateful, I don't even think I'll have these issues forever. Also, my flexibility has increased tremendously. 20 years in the food service industry plus pregnancy and childbirth, can WRECK your body. And I'm grateful to do something that is lovingly and slowly helping the broken parts of me to recover, bringing my cells back to life. It's also been fantastic for my postpartum hypertension. And y'all know, if you're on here regularly, what an adventure that's been! ;)
After I leave yoga, I feel sooo much more peaceful, at ease, hopeful... And it makes me want to continue that throughout my day. Being more mindful, I'm a happier person with my daughter. I more at peace about the insane amount of choices I have to make in the next two months. And I'm eating less because I'm not nearly as stressed, which is a Fantasia-esque miracle in itself.
I usually leave yoga feeling like a gol'darned saint-- 'happy, skipping, peaceful, joyful'... (Kayne's next song!) But on occasion I get in the car and just have a good cry. Yoga moves energy through your body in a really beautiful way. It helps release a lot of fear, worry and situations that we keep trapped inside of us. Also, why I love to dance. For virgo ascendant head cases such as myself, the movement moves the feelings out when we're good at stuffing them down.
5) MY BODY IS A WONDERLAND
Okay, most often my body feels like less of a wonderland and more of a series of American Horror Stories, lol. I have been sliced, stretched, scraped, stitched and literally stuffed (I remember watching a nurse pound my intestines (?) back into my body during my c-section like she was closing an overfilled suitcase) from various surgeries over the past 3 & 1/2 years. BUT! My body is amazing... It has been there for me through SOOOO much. It is a fucking CHAMP. And I'm crazy grateful for this skin suit.
But mostly, it's really fascinating (and humorous!) to go from seeing your body really strong one day to being knocked on your ass the next day. Or being strong on one side and crazy shaky on the other. But also just the delightful curiousity and playfulness of, "Oh shit, my arms sooo do not bend this way" or "Who knew I could do this???" or "Holy crap, THAT got better! Go Mandi!" or "Did I rip my shoulders off my body in a past life because I'm not sure this will ever feel good!" And of course, I don't push anything or overdo any stretch or pose if I can't, I just appreciate the relationship-- the friendship-- you get to have with your body through yoga. And I'm just one body! You've got one too! It's fun to think about. :)
6) THE BEAUTY OF HUMANITY
This may not be nearly as obvious but there's something really beautiful to me about watching people in their bodies. Every body is different. At the studio I go to, we're all a mesh of ages, shapes and sizes. It's a truly gorgeous sight to watch people take care of themselves, nurture themselves, hug their bodies, show up for themselves. It's like seeing adults in their child-like state, in their little knee hugs or shavasana naps. Seeing people in my class as the children they once were. Getting back to ourselves in a real, pure way. It's gorgeous to behold. I wish this kind of experience on any one and every one. At the end of the day, we're all just a bunch of children learning to come back to ourselves.
Occasionally, the music the teachers play are old gems I haven't heard in forever... "Orange Sky" by Alexi Murdoch or 'Heartbeats' that I'm familiar with by The Knife that I now know sung by Jose Gonzalez. Soooo gorgeous. And Star Wars Disco?!! I mean... that was for disco themed 'Jams & Juice' yoga. Drinking and trivia yoga. SUPER FUN. And while I can't drink currently, I can definitely jam. And I can most definitely Star Wars Disco... It makes a girl want to put her hair in buns and go stand in line at midnight for a nerd movie in LA or go see John Williams again at the Hollywood Bowl. :)
8) GETTING AWAY FROM MY LIFE
Okay, maybe this isn't about yoga AT ALL but I'm still grateful, lol... It's an hour I don't have clean anything, wipe any faces, let anything in and out and in and out of a door twelve thousand times, I don't have to change a show, fold the laundry, get MORE grapes... I remember Michelle Obama saying the working out was her me time. I thought that was insane, like she should dream bigger. Then I had a kid. And I see you, Michelle. You gift of a woman, you.
9) COMMUNITY- THE PEOPLE & THE TEACHERS
I am beyond grateful to the luscious, wonderful people over at Waynesville Yoga Center for the community they've created there. Everyone who comes to classes are super nice, friendly, funny... Just there to help themselves, to recover from their day, heal injuries, change their lives and find community. My first night I was terrified to go and instantly felt completely comfortable thanks to some regulars.
And the teachers are all wonderful in their own way. Some are funnier, some are super sweet, all a bit rad and bad ass in their own way. I am beyond grateful for their knowledge and assistance. But most of all for their HEART. They really show up for us and that's such a gift. Truly.
And finally a quick selfie of me doing some yoga in India! ;)
YOU GUYS!!! There's a million other reasons but those are off the top of my head... I literally love it so much that I was supposed to get a tattoo this week and opted out of it because I didn't want to miss two weeks of yoga, lol. So maybe this winter? But anyway, if anyone has ever had any interest or curiosity in yoga, I cannot... reccommend it... enough. YOGA: IT'S BETTER THAN RANCH! The end. :)