Thursday, September 11, 2014

Something A Bit More Personal: Yoga Edition




I have to confess to you, Reader Friends, I have written and deleted this post about six times over the past four weeks or so.  I'm so anxious to tell you about this giant, life-changing thing that I've started, but it always comes out sounding cheesy and gushy and not at all how I want it to sound.  It's also fairly text heavy, but just trust that I've pared this down as much as I can.

I should start by saying that I have never been athletic.  I always knew I didn't like sports, especially team sports, but it wasn't until I quit homeschooling and entered into the hell known as PE that I realized I HATED sports.  And not just hated - was the actual worst at them.  That is not hyperbole.  The.actual.worst.  I was the last to finish laps, the only one to fail (multiple times) the President's Physical Fitness Test (even just saying those words gives me shivers), and the last one chosen for every team, every time.

That doesn't mean I was fat or out of shape though.  I played outside, rode my bike everywhere, swam (even competitively for a brief time), rode horses, and took figure skating and Irish dance lessons.

My struggle with weight began after I got married.  I had some health issues that forced me to go on several medications that caused serious weight gain.  In addition to those medications, I continued to eat like I have eaten my entire life - whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.  I was a size four when I got married.  I am now a size that I really don't feel comfortable sharing publicly.

I've spent the last year or so halfheartedly determining to lose weight.  I swam laps a day or two a week and saw a nutritionist to learn about more healthy eating habits.  Because I'm still on medication that causes weight gain, this helped to stabilize my weight.  I wasn't gaining any more, but I also wasn't losing any.

And then my friend Andrea from We Still Read got into yoga.  And I watched her make this incredible progress.  She wasn't out of shape at all to begin with, but you could just see her getting stronger on a basically daily basis.  She was doing these incredible acrobatic things and I was SO impressed.  For several months I basically just stalked her instagram (@southgazen) and told myself that maybe when I lost fifty pounds or so, I'd be able to try.

But it turns out, all it took was a bad case of cramps to give me the push I needed at the right time.  I texted Andrea to ask for a few yoga poses to ease cramps that someone my size and complete lack of physical ability could do.  And the ones she sent felt amazing.

Through some more texting, Andrea convinced me that I could go to class and no one would yell at me or tell me I'm not trying hard enough or do anything other than encourage me.  And it just so happened that my YMCA had a yin class (the BEST way to get into yoga for people who are scared and out of shape in my opinions) the very next day.  I quickly told some friends I was going to try the class, so I'd have the accountability of them asking how it went.

Ya'll the class was so perfect.  I try not to be all God all the time on here, but the way this has happened is really and truly nothing short of Divine Intervention.  Andrea sent me the right stretches, she convinced me to try the right class, and on the day I went they were doing a particularly delicious and (key word) EASY practice.  I was hooked.

Basically, since that day, I've become a complete and total yoga convert.  I'm currently practicing every day, attending two group classes each week, and doing at least three days of intense cardio each week.  For the first time, the weight loss is only the side benefit, not the goal.  The goal is to be better at yoga, which means I need to drop some pounds - which is has!  Twelve pounds in six weeks.

But here's the real kicker.  I'm kind of good at this!  I feel a bit uncomfortable even saying that, but I'm letting myself toot my own horn just this once.  My body can do things I never, ever thought a body this size could do.  In just a very few weeks, I've added so many physical skills to my inventory.  Even at my thinnest, I've never felt proud of what my body could physically do.  I have always been the non-athletic sibling in an athletic family and the weak link on any team.


So, maybe you can understand why it's hard for me to write this without getting chocked up.  It continues to blow my mind that I am actually enjoying working out.  That I've found a physical challenge that I can actually meet.  I'm still my regular bookish self, but I feel like I'm also a totally different self too.

Which is why, at twelve pounds under my heaviest weight, I have the most body confidence I've had in my entire life.  And, why I feel comfortable posting these pictures proudly!  If you follow me on Instagram (and you should - @julie37619) you've probably already noticed that yoga has taken over my feed.  Get used to it, because this is something I'm planning to stick with!





18 comments:

  1. That's so cool! I sort of want to try yoga but I'm afraid, lol! I'll have to follow your IG and get inspired!

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    1. Don't be scared - it's something that is for every person at every level. And it's all about doing what your body can do right now, not what you wish it could do or what anyone else can do.

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  2. My daughter has been after me to go to yoga classes for months. She loves it. I really should stop being such a lump and give it a try.

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    1. You should totally give it a try! I realize it's not going to be the thing for everyone, but it's taught me that I need to keep trying until I find my thing.

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  3. I have also found yoga to be life-changing. I attend two studio classes per week, but I don't have a home practice established. Maybe that can be a goal for the fall and winter for me!

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    1. Someone asked me yesterday if I like class practice or home practice better and I just couldn't answer. In class I feel a bit more push to tough it out even when poses get hard. At home, I feel more open to trying new things even if I think I'll probably fail or look stupid.

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  4. I hope it continues to work well for you. My wife has practiced Karate for several years, and it's really helped her. I suspect the Yoga will do much the same for you.

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    1. My husband has always been into martial arts. I tried, but it wasn't my thing. It takes an amazing amount of effort and skill - props to your wife for being one tough cookie!

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  5. This is AWESOME!! I am so happy for you. Glad that you found your physical "niche" and are reaping the weight loss benefits as a bonus!! Go girl!!

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  6. That is so cool! I've always wanted to try yoga, now I may have to.

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    1. You should definitely give it a try! Even if it's not the right fit, it'll push you toward other methods of exercise that might be just the right thing!

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  7. I am so proud of you, enjoy every moment. I just came back from NY studying a new style for me, Strala Yoga founded by Tara Stiles.

    It is all about embracing you and feeling good in the body. Sounds like you have it, look forward to more posts.

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    1. That sounds like an amazing experience! I'm headed off to google Strala Yoga now!

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  8. Congrats Julie! Go you! 12 lbs in 6 weeks is amazing! I am not a Yoga person but I am happy to hear that you have found something to make you feel this way, something life changing. Best of Luck!

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  9. Congrats on taking those first steps for your health! I run a Community where a bunch of us working on becoming healthier together, you are welcome to join in.. https://www.facebook.com/groups/LovingYourselfFitness/

    Love your blog by the way! I'm always so busy reading non-fiction that I fall short on my fiction book club picks.. this helps speed me up :-p

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