My first change-it-up challenge was easy: two weeks ago, I joined USU’s Fun Fit Forever Club, which basically just grants me access to all sorts of different exercise classes offered throughout the week. As anyone that knows me well has heard, yoga and I have not had the healthiest relationship in the past–I always complained about how every time I tried it before (which translated to like, two times, neither of which was a “real” class), it had given me a massive headache afterward. I argued that it was probably because my body is so used to being tense all the time, so it just couldn’t handle relaxing that much. But that was many years ago in my “young lass” days, and I figured it couldn’t be much worse than the Step class I tried last week. So I decided to give it a shot. I packed my exercise clothes into my red backpack along with my Classroom Management textbook and 5-subject binder and set off for campus on this frigid morning. Little did I know that for half of the walk, my backpack was coming slowly more and more unzipped from the heavy load, until my bra and tank top were spilling out into full sight. Nice.
I walked into the class a couple minutes late (since I had to come straight from my Ethnic Lit class and change my clothes before starting), where I saw a mix of about 15 men and women sitting Indian-style on different-colored mats, facing the large mirrors and skinny blonde instructor up front. As I fumbled a blue mat out of the bin in the corner, I heard the instructor say, “Today we’ll be focusing on acceptance–acceptance of yourself, acceptance of the state that you are in, acceptance of your body and its limitations and its strengths. Just breathe and accept it all.” Just what I needed–an acceptance pep talk, esp. now that I’m trying to prepare myself to fit into a tiny wedding dress in 3 months. I tried to get involved as much as possible by getting myself into an “accepting mindset,” but I found that I kept sneaking peeks around to see if we were supposed to be doing anything beyond breathing (which we weren’t. We were supposed to close our eyes and “get in tune” with our bodies for the first 5 minutes). I wondered if everyone else just knew what they were doing, because I was the only one opening my eyes every two seconds. Or maybe I’m just that high-strung. Then, almost without warning, I heard (I kid you not) the perfectly in-sync chant of a single “Ohm” ripple throughout the room, like a church bell struck a single time. I shivered in spite of myself. I felt the power of the Ohm!!!
The hour progressed through a series of breathing exercises, a whole bunch of downward dogs (where you stick your butt up in a “V” formation for about a million minutes to build your core strength, which I apparently don’t have), and some pretzel-like positions that I didn’t even know existed. The great part about yoga is, though, that there is minimal to no sweating involved, which makes you feel like you’re not even working out. And I was surprisingly more capable than I thought I’d be during the exercises; sure, my legs shook like crazy during a couple of the long strength poses and I had a hard time walking for a couple minutes after the class, but overall, I felt like the hour had been successful. Sure, maybe I didn’t come to the “acceptance” stage in my mind as deeply as I should have, and maybe I don’t feel like my life has been drastically “put into alignment with the Eternal forces,” like my instructor said at the beginning. But you know what? It did make me feel significantly more relaxed and took an edge off of the constant buzzing in my brain. And the best part? I didn’t even get a headache.
Change It Up Challenge–Successful? YES – I will be making this yoga class a regular part of my exercise routine, even if it means having to chime out an “Ohm” or two.