Why Slow Down?!
The first time I took a yoga class was terrible...
The yoga teacher had a gentle voice, the music was calm and almost nonexistent and the poses were OH MY GOODNESS slow, this went against everything I believed in. I loved running, kickboxing, biking, dancing…all the high-energy, fast-moving workouts that allowed me to burn my energy up and be exhausted after.
These are the indicators that prove that I worked hard and deserved a break…right?
After that painstaking hour-long yoga class my friend and I bolted out of the room and swore we were never doing that again! I spent the next 3-4 years continuing all of my favorite high-energy activities and even tried out some new ones.
Cut to Fort Rucker, AL…
Our family packed up for a one-year stint in Alabama while my husband was in flight school for the US Army Reserves. We knew we would be returning to our home in Colorado after his training and decided to go with him for the change of scenery. There isn’t really much moving around in the Reserves and we thought it would be fun.
Who knew I would find my soul’s passion in a little gym in the South?
My new neighbor Jenny was in the same situation as I was. She was in Alabama temporarily with her husband and two children that were the same age as mine, we hit it off right away. Most days I would convince Jenny to pack up the little one in her jogging stroller and we would go for a 5-10 mile walk/jog around the post. Jenny was so dependable, she showed up every time whether she felt like it or not. We sweated, laughed, shared stories, and burned our energy like this for months.
One day Jenny said “Jody! The gym is starting yoga, let’s go!” I laughed as I shared my yoga experience with her and said “uh, no thank you!”. She kindly reminded me of her loyalty over the past few months with my “quick jogs/hikes/walks” and in so many words said it was my turn to support her, I couldn’t argue (I really tried to, though).
I packed up my ego, and rolled my eyes…
All the way to that gym for a yoga class.
Welp, my soul must have been ready to tell me what she needed. I was challenged to slow down — my breath, my body, my mind, my actions. I wasn’t “good” at the poses or the slowing down, everything I was experiencing was so different from everything I had been doing. This class wasn’t much different than my first yoga class in Colorado years before, but it felt so very different. For whatever reason, this was the time my body and soul decided to harmonize. I was uncomfortable and curious in this different environment instead of uncomfortable and looking to escape.
After class, I was confused, elated, a little upset that I actually might like yoga after all, and so appreciative for having Jenny in my life.
I continued to take yoga twice a week at the little gym on post for the next eight months until our family moved back to Colorado. Once I was settled at home again I signed up to become a certified yoga teacher. I didn’t know much about yoga poses, the philosophy, or anything else except that it made me feel connected to myself and that felt really good. I continued the high-energy activities and yoga complimented those very well.
Yoga continues to teach me how to invite stillness and the quiet in…
To not shy away from the challenges. This is where we can observe our actions and desires and start to connect the dots. I consider my yoga mat a sacred workshop where I give myself the freedom and grace to fall, explore and ask questions that might be too scary to do off of my mat. This gives me the courage to get to know myself a little more each time I step on the mat and even more courage to take these lessons and ideas off the mat and into everyday life.
Yoga has given me the space in my day, body, mind, heart to get curious, observe and understand myself. When I feel like my mind is going nonstop or my energy is anxious I can step onto my mat and immediately feel connected. This didn’t happen overnight…
It’s a journey that has no end.
I’ve been teaching yoga for fifteen years and I practice every day. I still experience high anxiety times but I now have tools to calm my mind and balance myself in a healthy way. There is always going to be some kind of struggle in life, instead of struggling to stay chaotic and anxious I have decided to struggle to be happy and curious.
Blog Written by Jody Sinischo, SYCC Yoga Teacher; Take a class with Jody Wednesdays @ 10 AM 'Yoga for Beginners'; images credited to Libby McGowan