I recently signed up for a month of unlimited Bikram at a local studio. I have done this style of yoga here and there for about 5 years now so I am no stranger to it but I only go a few times a year or in little spurts when I’m particularly motivated. 5 years ago, I was 23, still holding on to a decent amount of athleticism from high school and college, and going to class felt wonderful. I have never been a flexible person so I was not a rockstar at any of the moves, but the heat really did loosen up my joints and muscles, and I would leave feeling like I had gotten a deep stretch in every part of my body. I didn’t consider it a work out per say, but more like a necessary piece of an active lifestyle, activating deep tissues and flexing areas that get ignored in most other workouts.
My experience last weekend was unfortunately very different! I had to modify just about every pose because my body is stiff and my weight would get in the way of the really bendy poses. The instructor was helpful and kind, but I couldn’t help but get frustrated. He at one point showed me a modification and said “Do this for today. This is the beginning of the beginning. It’s a great story actually.”. I don’t think I’ll soon forget his words because while they were totally meant to be encouraging, I am not used to being a beginner. I fought back tears that first class as I realized how far I have to go.
The silver lining of attending class that day, was an opportunity to assess myself. I have started really avoiding going to the gym or challenging myself athletically because in the back of my mind, I knew this was my current level, but I didn’t want to admit it. Being forced to see myself in action for 90 minutes was rough and reinvigorated my desire to get healthy. The key takeaway was that this isn’t just for an image anymore, but for real long-term health. If I were to go down this road any longer, who knows how much weight I could gain and what health problems I could develop. Ignoring my health now might seem to not be an issue, but honestly if I can’t take care of myself at 28, what will I be like at 58?
I am ready to build a foundation of health. It’s not just a choice or an option anymore, it’s a necessity.