Although I dabbled in the occasional yoga class – like many stressed out Manhattan yuppies did – for years, this month marks the first year anniversary of my real love affair with yoga.
It was in February of 2009 that I ran away to Koh Samui for seven days of fasting, meditation, and yoga. The results of that weeklong “detox” holiday were drastic – I lost weight (4 kilos), my skin cleared up (no more stealing my friends’ prescription acne creams), I stopped craving bad foods (although I still love to eat), I could think clearly (arriving at the conclusion that it was imperative to take a year off), and I could finally do yoga.
I mean really do yoga. When I did yoga before I never quite “got it.” I would go through the motions, not feeling all of the crazy wonderful things instructors were telling me to feel, and assuming that it was just fluffy hippie talk.
But after the detox, my mind cleared and my body opened. At last, I could concentrate and actually keep up with the rhythmic breathing. I felt lighter, leaner, and more flexible. Postures that were once excruciatingly awkward to get into, like “pigeon”, suddenly made sense.
Since April last year, yoga has become an indispensable part of my daily life. As a freelancer, having a yoga class to look forward to provides structure and discipline in my amorphous work days. As a seeker, still finding my way to the perfect job (or creating it), yoga reminds me that the thing you enjoy may in fact be the thing you “should” be doing. As a member of a family with poor medical history, yoga keeps me in good health. And, of course, vanity plays into it too. I love that I can indulge my carnivorous cravings and still fit into a size Small (X-Small in the US).
So, on the one year anniversary of my love affair with yoga, I’m preaching my passion to everyone: give it a try. Go Wiki “yoga”, sign up for a class, and see where it takes you. Maybe you’ll love it right away, maybe you’ll hate it, or maybe you’ll be like me, half liking it until something clicks into place. It could change your life, so why wait to find out what possibilities could come of mastering the “downward dog”?
* My favorite hot yoga studio in Beijing is celebrating its 6th anniversary on May 11 and offering free classes all day long. Check it out at www.omyoga42.com.cn.