This post is an unexpected one for me. I never thought I’d be writing that I found my path to yoga and what’s more, I love it! For those that have been following my journey, you know that this blog was an experiment of what would happen if I made time for myself daily. What if I watered myself daily. It’s my journey of personal exploration and growth. And you guys, growth is happening! In this case it’s unexpected growth, but I’ll take it.
I have never been a fan of yoga. I’ve always appreciated other people’s commitment to the practice and I wouldn’t say no to having a yoga body, but I could never get into it. As an endurance athlete, I love cardio workouts and I am naturally drawn to running, biking, swimming, and kickboxing. The meditative practice of yoga didn’t feel like it was enough of a workout. Even when I tried, I could never commit to yoga long enough to experience any of the benefits. So how did it all happen? My stumble into yoga started with 2 simple daily actions, meditation and stretching.
With 2 year old twin boys, I’m in high demand. Starting the practice of daily meditation was an effort to quiet my brain and provide a few minutes of restorative time for myself. I began with 5 minutes a day and have now increased that to 10 minutes. These 10 minute have quickly become a part of my routine. I look forward to my meditation and now find myself using calming breathing practices throughout my day when outside stressors find their way in. For those interested in starting their own practice of meditation, I found this 3-part Beginners Guide to Meditation helpful.
In addition to meditation, I wanted to stretch once a day. As a kid, I was never able to get the Presidential Fitness Award because I could never touch my toes. Those blue patches were reserved for the strong and flexible. Obviously I’m still not over it and decided it was time to work on my flexibility by stretching daily.
When I say stretching, I mean the basics. My daily stretches consisted of the butterfly, hamstring, and toe touch. At first, it was simply me going through the motions. It wasn’t until week 2 that I started to see a bit more flexibility and the additional stretch felt good. The combination of increased flexibility combined with the release of tension, started to make even my stretching something I looked forward to doing each day.
And that brings me to how I accidentally found a love for yoga. One day, I was doing my stretches and felt the urge to continue stretching and go into warrior pose. It was a strange feeling to be moved into a yoga pose but I went with it. The next day, I again had the urge to do yoga and did a Lifetime Fitness 30 minute SOL yoga class. My daily stretching and meditation had unintentionally led me to the combining activity of yoga.
I’ve now started to practice yoga at least once a week for 30 minutes. To say that I’m a little shocked at this new found love of yoga would be an understatement. While I’m just beginning my journey, below are a few things I have already learned during this unexpected transformation.
SMALL ACTIONS LEAD TO BIG CHANGES
When you first start to implement changes, start small. Start with actions that are easy to implement into your daily routines. When I started stretching, I made a conscious effort to start with only a few stretches. I didn’t want to overwhelm myself and knew that I needed it to be easy for me to stick with it.
In my post Recommended Reading: Atomic Habits by James Clear I share James’ teachings about Habit Stacking. It is easier to implement new habits when you tie them to established habits. While I didn’t follow this advice exactly because both were new habits, I did tie meditation to my stretching. First I meditated, then I stretched. I didn’t realize it at the time but by putting those two small actions together I was starting a big change for me, the natural transition to yoga.
YOU ARE STILL ON A JOURNEY IF YOU MAKE A DETOUR
Growth is a state of constant change. While we may start on one path, we may find ourselves on a detour of exploration. Let’s say you want to learn to play the piano. Through the process of learning more about the piano, lessons, and music in general, you find your true passion is the saxophone. If you are too focused on the goal of learning the piano, you can easily miss the subtle nudges to seek a new growth path. Your true passions, or simply new passions, may be calling you. For me, my ultimate goal was never yoga. It was a detour. Be open, listen to your gut, and accept new things. You never know where it will lead!
A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE CAN OPEN YOUR EYES
What I find most interesting about this growth is my change in perspective. By slowly growing into my yoga practice, I’ve been able to better understand and appreciate the benefits it provides. Instead of looking at yoga as a workout, the shift to understanding it as a meditative practice is what made it compelling. It was now the answer to my want for calm and the release of unwanted tension. In life, seeing things from different perspectives will always lead to deeper understanding and acceptance of the world around us.
If you are just starting your growth or an active waterer, know that change is just around the corner. As we work to make change, remember to start with small, actionable steps. Be patient as you start to grow and accept the unexpected. Keep working towards your goals and get ready, friend. You are about to blossom!