meditation-338446_1920Yesterday I attended my very first yoga class, and wanted to share my experience with you all. While I’m sure that groundbreaking results aren’t going to be apparent after just one session, I must say that today I woke up with a bigger smile and enhanced spinal strength! Going into the class, I informed my instructor that I was a beginner. She warmly smiled and told me that most people in attendance were beginners as well. Phew! At least I wouldn’t look like a complete dork.

The class started out fairly easy; we did some basic stretches to warm up our muscles. With the room dimly lit and calming music playing in the background, I immediately felt like I’d found my new hobby. Once our bodies were loose and limber, we moved on to the good stuff. Positions like Downward Dog, Mountain, and Warrior seemed simple enough – so simple, in fact, that I began to question whether or not I was doing them correctly. Downward Dog, perhaps the most recognizable yoga position, is said to boost circulation, build bone density, and eliminate stiffness and back pain. I quickly learned that the greatest challenge was not just nailing the position itself, but ensuring that you’re focusing on the correct muscle as well as maintaining consistent breathing throughout. During Mountain pose, I was almost positive I was doing something wrong – I mean, I was just standing there. I couldn’t quite figure out how such a seemingly passive pose would have any benefits to offer. However, the instructor then informed us that Mountain pose not only improves posture but it also helps balance and clear an individual’s focus, helping to strengthen one’s capacity for concentration. Who knew?

After flowing through repeated positions during what may have been the quickest and most relaxing hour of my life, I found myself in a meditation position. This was by far my favorite part. After noticing a release of tension from my shoulders as well as from the rest of my body, I sat serenely enjoying the music and centering my focus on that moment.

It seems that, with our busy lives, it’s difficult for us to even find the time to breathe deeply and fully. Branching out from my usual routine and trying yoga and meditation showed me that these activities may be the perfect antidote to the stress of daily life, offering the chance to shed that layer of tiredness and step into a refreshing new skin. If you haven’t tried yoga, I’d highly recommend it. Who knows, maybe you’ll find it to be the start of a new hobby, just as I did.

 What are some of your favorite exercises that have become a part of your daily or weekly routine?