I started doing Yoga in February of 2022. I had dabbled in it before but I did not really vibe with the one class I went to and online yoga at home did not seem to have the effect on me as my new class did. I get a one time $10 gym membership through my job and they offer yoga classes twice a week, so I convinced my boyfriend Adam and some friends of mine to start going with me.
At first, I think we all thought it was going to be something silly that we would do once or twice and find out that it was not what we were looking for, but it has been over a month now and all of us have found it fun and enriching. My first yoga class left me feeling freer and lighter than I have felt in years. Part of that is the physical aspect, stretching and releasing tension, but another side of it that I have discovered is the mindfulness aspect. Our teacher is a kind Thai lady named Bom and she reminds us to always go through our poses with intent and to listen to our bodies and our breath. Regardless of how you live your life outside of this yoga class, inside it really reminds you to stop and pay attention. That was something I had been avoiding for so long that after I left my first class, I felt rather emotional. Something clicked inside of me that said “this is what you have been looking for.” It is what sparked my journey to be a better me.
To be completely honest, I think that I have a vision of yoga on a pedestal as this life changing experience in which I will become a new, kinder, more thoughtful person. So far, I have yet to be proven wrong. However, I do realize that I am an idealistic gay man in his 30s that is looking for something profound and purposeful, so I need to check myself sometimes and not come off as one of those people that makes it a much bigger deal than it actually is. Then again, yoga really does make me feel like I can do more and be more than what I have been allowing myself to be. I can be more mindful, I can do things with more intent, I can breathe and become gratitude, peace, and light.
I spoke to my therapist about this during our last session, as she has been recommending yoga to me for the last 3 years that I’ve been seeing her. She told me she is proud of me for taking the steps to become a yogi and she informed me that through all of our conversations of me saying that I want to find purpose and meaning in what I do, yoga has reflected as light in my eyes and passion in my heart. She told me to run with it — make it a point to go to class every week, start practicing at home, read books on yoga, get involved with the community.
To me, yoga is not only a physical practice. It opens your mind. It helps you realize the things you have been trying to process and provides you a space to start processing them. Through yoga, I have reflected on my personal habits and developed a drive to do better. I have reflected on my personal relationships and my romantic relationships to take a more gracious approach and appreciate them for what they are, what they contribute to my life, and how I can reciprocate those sentiments. On the physical side, I find comfort in getting mobility back after years and years of a sedimentary lifestyle and an unbelievable amount of tension in my body. It really is amazing how pushing yourself into a deeper downward dog can really make you feel all the tension in your body start releasing and seeing what new limits you can push yourself to.
Overall, this has been a life changing experience for me. That may be idealistic, frou-frou, and overly praising of something that most people see as just another form of exercise…but this is about me and my experience, right? I intend to continue practicing yoga for as long as I can and I will check back in as I develop my practice and knowledge more to see where I am in a few months. Maybe my thoughts will change. Maybe they will go deeper than where I am now. But for the first time in a long while I have found something that makes me truly happy and motivated, and for that I am thankful.