I am a husband, dad, student, and intern at Yoga from the Heart, and I am a yogi. I am a beginner yogi, but yoga is a journey, and I know in my heart that yoga will be a part of me for the rest of my life.
I was first introduced to yoga by my wife. She is a lover of yoga and had practiced on and off for several years before the beginning of our relationship. In May of 2011, we took a trip to The Farm in Summertown, Tennessee. We stayed with a wonderful couple named Will and Deb. Deb just so happened to be a yoga instructor. My wife was very excited to take a yoga class, as she had been too busy with midwifery school to practice much yoga for the past two years. She asked me to go with her, and I agreed…but not without hesitation. You see, I had previously thought that yoga was some strange spiritual combination of spa music, incense-burning, and silly stretching. So though I was slightly apprehensive, I scoffed to myself and thought, “How hard could it be?” As soon as class started, I learned the answer to that question. As the rest of the class was gracefully and easily going from pose to pose, I was red-faced and straining, sweating and grunting, and overall working very hard. It was all that I could do to stay up with the rest of the class, and for the next week every muscle in my body was sore. I fell in love with yoga during that class, though I admit it took me some time to work up the courage to practice again.
Yoga is so different than any other workout program. With most programs, you work out specific parts of your body: legs one day, arms another, etc. With yoga, however, every muscle in your body is engaged at all times. From muscles in your feet and hands that help to maintain your balance, to the muscles in your abs and gluts to maintain your core, all the way to the muscles in your arms and legs to keep firmly rooted, every muscle is engaged and working. This is why yoga provides such a fantastic workout! Another great thing about yoga is the fact that as you advance, you can always go deeper into your poses, providing a challenging workout no matter what your experience level.
Yoga also provides many benefits to your mind and your overall state of well-being. At the end of each yoga class, I have amazing clarity of mind. For the rest of the day I feel as though I am on an endorphin rush. My thoughts are clear, I am more patient, and I simply feel good. In fact, the main purpose of yoga is not to exercise and become more flexible; the true purpose is to quiet the mind in preparation for meditation. Yoga does a fantastic job of silencing your thoughts and allowing you to find an inner peace. This also leads to an overall improvement in attitude, which has resounding effects throughout your life. Have you ever met an angry yogi? I haven’t.