What I want? Some quiet time with like-minded people to practice my yoga in a calm, dimly lit room led by an instructor who helps with your poses and corrects your posture as you flex and breathe into the various Asanas.
What I get? A crowded, heated room. Rows of scantily clad men and women sporting the latest Lululemon gear on brightly coloured mats lined with yoga towels. An instructor who appears to have stepped out of a fitness magazine who never seems out of breath, never seems to sweat, and has hair that never falls out of place.
The calm, unpretentious environment of my humble yoga beginnings as a child have been taken over by high-tech studios. Each one claims to have the best classes and the best deals. And here I am dripping in sweat, trying to keep up with these power yogis because I can't seem to find a proper class that suits my needs.
I started practicing yoga regularly several years ago and managed to keep practicing through my pregnancies. I tried several different types of yoga and fell in love with Ashtanga. Its graceful breathing techniques and traditional poses allowed me to engage in a state of moving meditation. I enjoyed practicing this in a small class with an amazing instructor.
What yoga allows me to do and feel is something I cannot explain to anyone. If you've been lucky enough to experience that blissful state, you know exactly what I mean. I'm not talking about the adrenaline pumping feeling you get when doing an intense workout.
A proper yoga practice when led by a great instructor will take your body and mind to levels that you have not dreamed of. Over time, it builds your strength both emotionally and physically. Not only does your body feel light and pain-free, but you also feel a deep cleanse from within as you engage in yoga breathing (pranayama).
Since leaving the practice due to my move, I have not been able to find another practice to suit my needs. All the classes I've found have been in large studios and it has been even more difficult to find an Ashtanga class.
Even though I continued my yoga journey through my pregnancies, two kids later, I find it harder to get back into a routine after a full day's work. I have tried to practice at the office and at home, but the motivation of being outside the house in a studio and being led by an instructor is far more enticing than practicing in my basement. Furthermore, with Ashtanga, I prefer being corrected on my techniques so I can move into more complex poses, so I don't find YouTube videos very motivating.
As a child, I remember there was only one type of yoga. It was just yoga. These days, yoga has been commercialized and marketed into so many different styles that beginners can find it confusing.
My most recent groupon deal led me to a place that packed about 40-50 people into a tiny heated studio and claimed to be within capacity. After five minutes, I felt nauseated with the humid air filled with sweat, only made worse by the heated room. I just wanted to get back to my calming practice where I didn't have to worry about someone's sweat splashing onto me!
As I struggle to find a balance with work, home, kids and personal interests, I seem to have lost my inner yogini along the way. I am determined to find her once again. It is not easy to make the time to practice, but the feeling I get after practicing yoga is worth seeking out even after a long and tired day.
As much as I miss cuddling with the kids at bedtime a few times a week, and as much as I would rather curl up on the sofa in my pajamas in front of the TV after a long day, I remind myself to look at the larger picture and the reason for me investing time and money into yoga. It helps me feel balanced and gives me more energy to spend time with the family. Most importantly for me, it gives me a chance to reconnect with myself and gives me a greater sense of clarity.
As we try to stay afloat in a busy world, it is becoming increasingly necessary for us to make time to relax and clear our minds. Practicing yoga and/or meditation definitely benefits us in all aspects of our lives.
Image credit: www.thefloatplace.com