My yoga pants do actually go to yoga.
Quite often, actually.
I sometimes say things like “I really need yoga today” and I know that people who don’t get it roll their eyes at me for this(I roll my eyes at myself, too, sometimes- but I still sincerely mean it).
If you’ve never gone to yoga or if you’ve only tried it once and you’re not sure if it’s for you, let me tell you why I love it, and share some benefits of yoga with you.
Yoga class is quite possibly the most judgement-free class you can take. There are always different levels of poses you can take and in any given class, you’ll find people doing all of those different levels. Yoga is about honoring what your body can do- maybe that’s the less intense version of one pose and then the most advanced version of the next. Lots of people practice yoga with their eyes closed for a majority of the time (though of course, like anything in yoga, you don’t have to) but if their eyes are closed, they certainly aren’t looking at you.
You’ll learn things about your body you never knew. Doing movements and stretches you don’t tend to do elsewhere, you’ll find where your edge is, how far you can push yourself, as well as what feels good and what doesn’t. And you’ll learn when your body needs a rest- there’s never any shame in resting in child’s pose, even if most everyone is doing something else.
Yoga shows you everyone is good (and bad) at something. You figure out that certain poses or types of activities come easily to you and others are hard- and you might notice(if you’re looking) that the person beside you might be absolutely spectacular at something you find impossible and then struggle at what you can do without effort. My flexibility is not where it was when I first started practicing over 14 year ago (thanks age and kids) but balancing poses are easy for me. Someone on the mat in front of me can fold forward and touch her head to the floor but wobbles just shifting weight to one foot. Not a judgement- just an honest observation that everyone has their strengths and things they’re working on.
You’ll feel a permission to take time for yourself. I always say that I need to give myself this time, but I have a hard time actually following through on it. But not in yoga class. I’m there, for the hour or so of class and there’s no heading off to do something else or a quick check on my phone or anything else. It’s time to focus on me, on breathing, on a type of stillness I don’t get anywhere else.
If you’ve never tried yoga before (and probably even from reading why I love yoga), you might think it’s just a bunch of quiet stillness and what on earth is it actually doing for your body- the answer is a lot. It might not immediately feel like it (unless you’re taking a power class) in the same way that taking a zumba class would. But, you are working on your flexibility and building muscle strength. Yoga also increases blood flow, drains your lymphs and boosts immunity. You might even find that yoga drops your blood pressure and lowers your blood sugar. It helps release tension in your muscles and can help you sleep better. I’m (obviously) not a doctor, but these are all things discussed at yoga and they’ve been true in my experience. There are other benefits as well- when my boys took kids’ yoga, the instructor told them how yoga would help them with all the sports they play.
When I go to yoga, especially when I can go on a regular basis, I feel better. Body and mind. If you have a chance, give it a try- for more than just one class, so you can really start to feel the benefits. Let me know if you have any questions.
Side note: the first few yoga classes I went to, years ago, I wasn’t sure about. It felt a little slow to me and like not much was happening. And some of the terminology was odd- like saying “namaste” with hands at heart’s center and bowing. But, as I kept going, I really felt the benefits. And I’m on board with the idea of namaste(which basically just means that the light in me recognizes and honors the light in you, that they are the same light- an idea very similar to what I was taught as a child- that we’re all God’s creation), but you never have to say or do anythings in yoga that you don’t want to.