Yoga is not my first love

Yoga is not my favorite thing to do. Once I am on the mat and flowing through a practice, I adore it, and I feel deliciously “wrung out” yet energized afterward. But the mat doesn’t call to me as loudly as other pursuits.

I am drawn to jumpy, sweaty, mindless movement, preferably accompanied by loud music with lots of bass. I am testy if I have to miss my thrice-weekly boot camp class at Soldierfit.

I’m also drawn to quieter movement over long distances, surrounded by nature. I want to be outside every chance I get. I walk and hike a lot. The Fitbit was made for temperaments like mine, and you will never find me without mine.

I’ve done sprint triathlons and century (100-mile) bike rides. For my 50th birthday, I plan to walk 50,000 steps in one day, and later this year my husband and I will mark our mutual 50th with a 50-mile hike on the AT through Maryland.

As the song says, I like to move it move it. Fitness and movement in general are absolutely central to my identity. I dread the thought of one day losing any part of that.

And here is where yoga comes in. Yoga is not something I do for its own sake; it is what allows me to continue all of my other physical endeavors. And I’ve heard from so many students—and several of their doctors—that yoga has made all the difference in their quality of life as well. A woman who underwent a mastectomy is getting her range of motion back after scarring “froze” her shoulder. Another no longer needs steroid injections for injuries to her lumbar discs. A triathlete can train longer on the bike because he knows how to release tension in his neck and hip flexor muscles after a long ride.

I have many, many students whose yoga practice is their primary physical activity; it feeds every part of them. And perhaps one day I’ll move in that direction, but I doubt it. I also doubt I will ever stop practicing and teaching yoga, because I believe so fervently in the power of the practice to enable and enrich all other aspects of my life…and maybe yours.

Categories: Yoga