Friday, May 21, 2010

Going for It

I've been practicing yoga for over six years now. I go to my Shala (yoga studio) at least three times a week, often four, and usually do an abbreviated practice at home on the days I don't go to the shala.

I was never one for "exercise classes" and I never liked lifting weights at the gym. Frankly, I never understood the point of aerobics, Jazzercise or Zumba. I mean you go into a class, you jump around and where does it get you?

Even weight lifting. I tried it, and even slogged through the whole Nautilus craze back in the 1980's. But even that left me somewhat cold. Lifting weights toned muscles, but, again, I'd ask myself where does this get me.

I had always been athletic. I studied ballet until I was a teen-ager, and skied competitively in college. I also loved to bike, hike, play tennis and do just about anything that didn't involve going to a gym. I loved to push myself running, to see how far I could go.

And, I loved the freedom of not being tied to any schedule. If I had a couple of hours free I could grab my bike and take a spin along the Charles River (when I lived in Boston), or around Central Park (when I lived in Manhattan).

But exercise classes and lifting weights were just not my "thing."

Even yoga did not appeal to me initially. My first forays into yoga where found me lying on my back counting ceiling tiles. But, then I wondered into an Ashtanga yoga studio.

I was having back problems and a physical therapist suggested I try yoga. So, one day after I dropped my daughter off at her pre-school I wandered into a nearby yoga studio which was an Ashtanga studio. I never heard of Ashtanga yoga before. After my first class I was sore for four days. This, I realized was a yoga program I could sign onto. Ashtanga yoga is fast moving, vigorous and physically challenging.

And, there are "goals." And Ashtanga practice consists of an opening sequence, a closing sequence and then you work on one of six series in-between. For the last six years I've been working on mastering the primary (first) series, and I've done some venturing into the second.

More importantly, I've seen how my body has changed because of my practice. When I started practicing yoga I couldn't touch my toes. Now I can hold onto my foot and get my forehead on my shin. I can sit in a lotus position, and do a head-stand. Asanas that I initially thought I'd never accomplish have been accomplished, or are near being accomplished.

So this week the Shala I attend announced that they will be holding a teacher training program. After the completion of the program (which will take five months), I'll be a certified by the Yoga Alliance to teach at the 200 hour level.

I've given it some thought, and I'm going for it. I don't see it as a money making proposition, but as a way to expand my knowledge of yoga.

Six years ago, I never thought I'd reach this point but here I am, moving from student to teacher.

Sometimes when you start a journey, you think you know where you are going, but the path you embark on takes you in a direction you may have never seen yourself taking.

Weight loss is a lot like that. You get yourself on a path, and if you keep on it, you probably will wind up someplace you may have never seen yourself.

But, it's important to stay on that path, no matter what road blocks emerge, and how scary the curve ahead seems.


  1. Congratulations! I tried Ashtanga after reading about it here among other places, and I'm plugging along...

  2. Yoga practising is a perfect option for
    weight loss,everyone should practice it regularly.

  3. Very cool. A wonderful extension of your practice.