My Foray Into Yoga – An Attempt To Exercise Keeping An Open Mind

As I was saying in my last post, one of my goals for this year is to be more social and open to trying new things. One of my regrets after graduating college was not exploring more and being more open to things. I’m pretty stubborn when it comes to knowing what I do and don’t like. As such, trying yoga was a challenge for me to practice keeping an open mind because in the past, I had already flagged it as something that I wouldn’t like.

Why yoga? One of my coworkers and I spend a lot of time after work hanging out. Most of what she and I do are fitness related, i.e, gym, running, basketball, etc. I noticed most of the time what we do is mainly things that are either convenient for both of us, or something I initiate. As such, I decided to take one for the team since she kept saying she wanted to get back into yoga. Along with this, I’d heard stories of professional athletes that said yoga helped them with their balance and flexibility. Due to how much I had been lifting and an ill-timed shoulder strain that restricted me from doing anything lifting related, I decided to give yoga a try so that I could restore some flexibility and give my shoulder a break.

After talking it over with my coworker and ordering what I needed, we decided on doing hot yoga at Purple Yoga in Tustin because they have a two-week, unlimited classes intro package for $29. Instead of easing into it, I jumped right into their red classes, which is the advanced class conducted in a room set to 100 degrees. In the course of two weeks I attended four classes with three different instructors. Instructor one was Melody, probably a bad instructor to go to if you’re brand new and not sure of what you’re doing. Her class was the most challenging out of all the classes I tried because it incorporated a lot of hand plants/upper body stability/head stands. Instructor two was Alex.  Alex’s classes seem to be focused a lot on stretching out your back, shoulders, and lower body. Instructor three was Ace who focused a lot on balance, lower body, and hip stretching. All three instructors are nice and patient, but Melody’s class is definitely not a beginner friendly class.

I remember going into these classes with an open mind. The greatest challenge was keeping an open mind as my body was struggling to keep the poses. One of my most hated things to do during high school was to stretch before and after cross-country and track practices. Yoga reminded me of why I dreaded it so much. Mentally I don’t have an endurance type mentality. I thrive on my competitive personality. In races I had a chaser mentality, if I had people to target, I would be able to push harder. If I was left alone, it’d be harder to kick it into the next gear. Yoga requires a lot of endurance as you hold poses for periods of time while focusing on form, balance, and extension. It isn’t competitive, there’s nothing to chase, and for me, each second felt like an eternity in that 100 degree room.

So what did I learn after the last two weeks? First off and unfortunately, I was right about not liking yoga. There’s nothing wrong with yoga itself. Yoga just doesn’t cater to what I would rather do for an hour-long workout. Secondly, if you were an athlete in high school or college, many of the common poses are things you’ve done before or based on things you’ve done for stretches or conditioning training. Lastly, yoga isn’t for everyone, but if you end up liking it, it seems like a lifestyle choice. I agree with the professional athletes when it comes to some of the benefits of yoga. The poses definitely can help you work on your flexibility, fix your posture, and help work on your balance.

If you’ve never tried it and you’re in the OC area, give Purple Yoga a shot. They have a friendly staff and they allow you to go at your own pace. Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment.

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