I started practicing yoga when I was rehabilitating my lower back pain from decades of intense strength and cardio sessions. I could barely stand up straight and decided to give yoga a try until I could do "real" workouts again.
I came upon the Yoga with Adriene channel on YouTube and was immediately drawn to Adriene's playfulness and her mindfulness mantra: "Find What Feels Good."
Find what feels good... as in actually listen to my body?! I had never really considered listening to my body. I only knew how to push through the pain for one more rep. Slowing down and getting curious felt counter-productive.
As I continued to show up on my mat though, my Type-A personality gave way to this new way of thinking. I got curious about what actually felt good. I started enjoying yoga for more than a temporary workout alternative.
I joined Empower Yoga Milwaukee and something else wonderful happened. I showed up to class knowing that I would be one of the least skilled yogis in the studio. And, I was okay with that! As a (recovering) perfectionist, I didn't typically put myself into situations where I might not be good at something.
I let go of my performance mindset and decided to just play! And you know what, I had SO MUCH FUN!
I kept showing up and I kept playing. Yes, I gained skills and can do poses now that I never thought I'd be able to do. More importantly, though, I've learned to listen to my body and care for it. My back is significantly better. My mind is, too. I'm more peaceful and compassionate.
I thought that yoga would be a temporary layover until I could get back to my "real" workouts, and here I am three years later, still showing up on my mat feeling more REAL and ALIVE than I ever have before.