When I moved back to my hometown of Johnstown, Pennsylvania nearly ten years ago, I decided to learn yoga. I'd worked myself into shape at home in my DC apartment, using my own dumbbells and The FIRM's TransFIRMer system, which is a combination 6-inch box step and 8-inch box step that can be used separately, stacked together for a 14-inch step, or turned into a inclined step - has anyone else heard of this or used it? The FIRM also put out a series of workout DVDs that went along with the TransFIRMer, and over time, I got into the best physical shape of my life. I was still doing The FIRM in my new home, but I'd always been curious about yoga, and I did some research and learned that a 6-week beginners' yoga class was being taught at the local community arts center.
When that 6-week class was over, I immediately signed up for the next one, and the one after that, and the one after that. And when the instructor asked if anyone might be interested in a more advanced yoga class (it was pretty much the same group of people who kept rejoining every 6-weeks), I signed up for that one. This went on for about a year, until life intervened and my schedule no longer had room for it. It wasn't the meditative aspect I was after, because I freely admit that that part of it was lost on me - my mind never stopped working and turning over all the things on my to-do list, or things that were bothering me, or things I was trying to find solutions for. It was the physical aspect I enjoyed, the stretching and using of my body in ways that were so different from what I was used to with The FIRM.
Fast-forward to the present day. It's been a year since I did any semblance of a workout regimen, and I've undergone two surgeries and radiation in that year. My body both looks and feels different, and I don't like it at all. I've missed my yoga practice since I stopped going all those years ago, and always had the intention of getting back into it but never did. I wanted the same instructor I'd had, and so I Googled her and discovered she taught at a yoga studio not far from the farm that offered different types of yoga - sculpting, Pilates, alignment, flow. I bought a two-week "newbie" package that allowed me to take as many classes as I wanted at their two locations.
My two weeks ended yesterday, and this morning, I bought a three-month membership that continues to allow me unlimited access. I hadn't realized how physically fit I'd been back then until now. I no longer have any core strength or balance; my ankles will no longer keep me upright, and my arms will no longer push me into bridge poses. Along these lines, I tried to do an old favorite cardio DVD from The FIRM the other day and had to stop multiple times throughout each individual set to catch my breath, when I used to be able to breeze right through the entire half-hour workout without thinking twice about it.
Yet being at the yoga studio, regardless of what class I take, feels incredible. It feels *right.* The atmosphere is so so positive, so supportive and encouraging; the instructors are wonderful, and all the new people I've met in the classes are friendly and welcoming. More than that, it feels good to stretch my body and start using it again, regardless of how difficult some things are. And I find that this time around, my mind quiets when I'm there - my only focus is on my body, and how good it feels to move and stretch again, and how grateful I am to be able to do so. And I feel determined and excited to start rebuilding.
Today I'll try that cardio workout again, and dig out my other DVDs. I'm dreading the struggle it's going to be - it's gonna HURT! :-( - but I tell myself it's okay to go slow. There's no rush and no competition. The important thing is that I'm doing it.
You can always start over, no matter the situation or how hard it is. As long as you have YOU, you're okay.
Have a great weekend!