I'm one of those people who signs up for a gym, goes for a week and never returns.
I hoped spending all my money on those monthly payments would motivate me to actually go, but I never did.
And after shelling out hundreds of dollars on personal trainers and pilates coaches and still staying above my ideal weight, I decided try something else.
So, I turned to yoga. In the first four months of taking a 1.5-hour vinyasa class every morning, I lost 35 pounds.
And those endless downward-facing dogs didn't just help me get in shape. They also transformed my spirit and mind.
Going to the gym or playing on a team has a different kind of energy than yoga.
In class, I have to focus and concentrate to hold a pose. I have to make sure I'm balancing myself so I don't topple over. I have to reach within myself to try to “hold on” for a few more breaths.
All of these things are basic life training. They're helping me cultivate patience, tolerance and acceptance of my body as it is, and it does so in a way that a more frenetic workout could never do.
After — or even during — yoga, I'd sometimes end up in tears. And it wasn't because I was in physical pain; it was because I was having emotional breakthroughs.
New insights would arise, and I'd say to myself, "Hey, you're really doing this. You're here. You're accepting your body in this moment and working with it. You're only going to do this slowly. Take it one step at a time. Keep trying these new things. A few more breaths."
That's not the kind of self-talk I ever gave myself at the gym.
It was always, “Lift more. Run faster. God, I don't look as cute in my spandex as she does.”
Really? I mean, why was I filling myself with negative thoughts as I was actively trying to get in shape and feel better about my body?
With yoga, I finally learned to work out to help myself. During each class, I am filled with positivity and acceptance.
The other thing about yoga is, it's all about truth. It's an ancient art that does way more than just tone muscles or help you become flexible.
And because of that, I'll never go back to another type of exercise — not even pilates.
Every time I go to a class, it's a spiritual journey that helps me go deeper inside myself.
I get to become more friendly with myself, more familiar with my own body and more accepting of who I am.
And what else could you want from a workout?