This is post 1 of hopefully 30 consecutive posts for the 30 day blogging challenge! Woot! So, the other day, my dear friend convinced me to go to a yoga class with her at 7am. Now, this sounds trivial, but those of you who know me know that a) I'm not athletic or "stretchy" any way you spin it and b) I'm not a morning person, and would prefer the world not wake up til at least 8 or 9. Additionally, I had never attempted yoga, mainly because of letter b, and because of the preconceived notions I had of it, which I will dispel.
What follows is my first attempt at yoga:
My friend and I got up at 6am, after only 6 hours of sleep (ouch...). We basically rolled out of bed and jumped in her car. I was feeling optimistic because I had just purchased my first pair of legit yoga pants that fit in all the right places, and I was feeling rather good about myself. I credit these pants in making the experience a better one overall.
We arrive at the quaint gym, and I've been rambling in the car up to this point because apparently that's what sleep deprivation does to me. We walk in the class, and I'm feeling extra good because it wasn't going to be just me and my friend (there was a mini crowd, as in, half a dozen others) and everyone was older than me. "I've got this" I thought. I picked up my yoga mat, which I would become dear friends with over the next hour. I started stretching, both to look "cool" and un-novice, and because I felt it might make the whole experience be less painful.
Once the yoga instructor walked in, all notions of looking "in the know" and un-novice flew out the window as I practically blurted out to her "this is my first yoga class!" My motives for that, I think, were to temper any feelings she may have during the class bordering on pity at my expertise, or lack there of, and because I felt rather excited that it was my first yoga class. I had been avoiding them for years, which I will explain in the following.
Yoga, based on my limited knowledge of it, is based on Eastern religion and meditation. Hence, to a Christian girl who had grown up in a strict Christian household, yoga's definition to me was something like praying to buddha and emptying your brain of all logic. Now, certain yoga classes may be more like this, but, I am happy to say that my yoga experience was nothing like this. She used soothing music that was well-known (ex: Coldplay). I even started singing along as I attempted to balance. The only thing "eastern" about it was her final greeting of "namaste" as she dismissed the class. According to Wikipedia, "namaste" is a "common spoken valediction or salutation originating from the Indian subcontinent. It is a customary greeting when individuals meet, and a valediction upon their parting." Pretty cool.
So back to my experience... The principle of yoga is not difficult. In fact, most people make it look easy. In actuality, they have probably been doing yoga for months, years, or since birth. Most of the positions required balance, stability, and concentration. Holding certain positions for minutes (or years) at a time created much muscle soreness, and my abs were killing me by the time class was over. Further, my legs felt they had turned to jelly, and I could hardly walk up or down stairs. Phew.
Golly, this post is so long. But, it was something I wanted to write on both as a personal account of a new experience and to dispel the notion that yoga is "sinful" or that Christians should avoid it like the plague. I would admonish believers to use caution and perhaps ask about how an instructor runs her class before attending, but not run from the experience all together just because it is called "yoga." Honestly, if I had a gym to go to regularly, I would do yoga a couple of times a week because I could easily see it's benefits in core strengthening and muscle building right off the bat.
In conclusion, I enjoyed my first taste of yoga, and I encourage you to try it out for yourself and create your own ideas and thoughts on it.