People come to yoga for different reasons: some want mental clarity, increased mobility, recovery, weight loss, etc. etc. I came about it because I was a dancing kid that lost her way.
I tried out for a few competitive teams and surprisingly made it. I guess I was somewhat coordinated and pretty flexible and balanced – things that are important dancing. [Let me enjoy my humblebrag here! I worked hard at dancing, but it was never hard work because it was fun.]
As a kid, though, I was freakishly skinny (ignore the chubby cheeks of my photo – I was usually in the severely underweight category growing up and didn’t fill out until high school) and I even had pretty defined abs. Of course, none of this is important if you’re 8 years old. I took it for granted and ate a diet of garbage – candy, cookies, more candy, chocolate, candy, fruit snacks (really just candy) and meat. And candy.
On the cusp of entering college, I was no longer underweight, but neither was I fit. High school PE was no longer a requirement once you were a junior or senior and I quit dancing because I couldn’t find a studio I loved anymore. I never got fat by any means of the scale, but I continued my diet of garbage. In college I ate more garbage that contributed to moodiness. I shouldn’t title this blog cookie monster – I was Oscar, the Grouch all the time.
At some point before college, I followed my sister to Bikram because it seemed like a decent alternative to dancing. Banking on my flexible and disregarding my strength, I backbended my way to pinched nerves and heat exhaustion. I had a hard time sticking to Bikram because it fed my Type-A need-to-be-number-one latent personality. It stressed me out. It made me skinny fat with immense back pain as I pushed myself to backbending more and more and more. I’m not hating on Bikram – I have seen it do great things for people who lacked the mobility to do simple stretches. It just wasn’t for me. But I continued because none of the other yoga classes were intense enough. My motives for doing yoga were not right for me and set an unhealthy attitude towards my body.
A few years after college, while pursuing desk job after desk job, and semi-toying around with other forms of exercise (running! swimming! lifting weights! bar method/dailey method!) I finally stumbled upon vinyasa yoga.
Within months of vinyasa yoga, I got stronger. I wanted to go back. I had fun. I made friends. I came out of my shell of self-pity and driving myself too hard. I wanted to do yoga to embrace my inner kid – to play around with new poses, to laugh at falling and failing. I was able to find that bit of community and happiness that made me love dancing as a kid.