Happiness Project: Trying Yoga for the First Time

Just last month, my husband forwarded me an email notification about a promotion on Yoga class. He encouraged me to join the class and even volunteered to pay for it (actually it was his birthday gift to me). I got excited because for the longest time I always wanted to try doing Yoga in an actual studio with instructors even on my youngest years. You see, I have tried my own Yoga practice at home but I guess I was not pleased on how I execute my poses plus the mere fact that I really did not know where to squeeze my schedule for the class. I chose Yoga+ BGC because it was just a few meters away from work and it was very convenient for me to drop by for my preferred class of the day.

Hubby gave me his blessing and accompanied me during my inquiries and enrollment. After enrolling and having been confirmed for the Yoga class, hubby even helped me picked and bought Yoga tops and pants for my class. Thank God for Forever 21 sale that I was able to score Yoga pants and tops for half the price. He even bought me a Yoga mat so I can practice my Yoga poses at home.

My first impression of Yoga is that you just do the poses, relax and meditate. My instructor told me that Yoga not only helps you de-stress and relax but it also keeps you fit. Keeping fit was one of my motivations for 2017. I know for the past few years, I gained few pounds. Blame it on our late night dinner with husband and my favorite hobby of doing grocery and cooking at home that I really gained weight. It did not help that when you reached the age of 30’s your metabolism is slowing down, so you really need to keep moving.

Prior to attending classes, I read a lot of sources online to know more about Yoga and align my expectation for my chosen “keeping healthy goals 2017”. There are many benefits of practicing Yoga and one of my classmates who were with me during orientation shared that it even helped her to cure her back injury. My instructor warned me that the keeping fit motivation will come into place if I regularly practice it. So there, I was all set to try their classes and I enumerate all my learning about my new found hobby and keeping fit activity for 2017:

  1. There are different types of Yoga. I learned about Hot Classes (which I loved), Flow and Jivamukti. These are all Yoga practices with different variations of poses.
    • I love Hot Classes because you do Yoga in a hot room and it makes you sweat a lot. My first time to try this type of yoga, I was too uncomfortable because it felt like I was in a huge oven while doing Yoga poses. But as few days gone by, I start to appreciate it because it’s challenging and it feels good when you achieve the poses. Plus, it makes you sweat a lot.
    • I love Flow classes because they teach you the basic Yoga poses. It is also called as Vinyasa and was called Flow because of smooth way the poses run together. I started to love the warrior poses, sun salutations and tree pose. Though all Yoga classes have these types of poses, Flow teaches you to regulate your breathing and later on teaches you to try more difficult pose.
    • Jivamukti is physical, ethical and spiritual practice combining vinyasa, meditations and mantra. What I love about this type of yoga is that it allows you to relax and de-stress. Though there are challenging poses in the class, I always love the end part which you lie down on your back and let your mind rest for a while. After the session, you feel refreshed and renewed.
  2. It is not easy to do Yoga. Looking back, I thought yoga was just doing poses and breathing. You can download or get an instruction somewhere and off you go. It is not that easy! In Yoga, you should be able to listen well to your instructor and your body for you to be able to achieve the poses required. Being a newbie in the class, my first week was such a challenge that after my class, I went to our office clinic and lie down for an hour due to exhaustion. Attending the Yoga classes, instructors teach you how to do the proper pose. In addition, if you feel any discomfort on doing pose, just stop and relax. It is not required to follow everything except if you are practicing for very long time. The goal of Yoga is to achieve the poses by smooth coordination of your body.
  3. Yoga classes help you to get fit because you get conscious on what you should and should not eat before and after classes. Doing poses is a challenge and if you did a binge eating prior to your Yoga class, believe me the chances of throwing up in the yoga mat is very high. You select foods appropriate for yoga and ensure that you hydrate a lot.
  4. Yoga helps you improve your breathing. Aside from doing poses, one of my challenges doing Yoga is how to manage my breathing. I must admit that while I was getting older, I get tired easily. In my younger years, climbing stairs (especially climbing up Ayala MRT station) and doing long walks was such a breeze. Now that I am older, I can feel that I am breathing hard and panting halfway through climbing and walking. Doing Yoga helps you regulate your breathing as you practice and immerse yourself in difficult poses.
  5. Yoga also improves your sense of balance and focus. My first try with tree pose was not that easy. I thought looking at my instructor and classmates, it was such an easy pose to copy. I was wrong, while doing the pose, my left foot is wobbly and I have a hard time maintaining my balance. But as the day goes by, I noticed gradual improvements in doing poses.
  6. I learned that in Yoga, everything can be achieved in proper timing and practice. Yoga teaches you to be patient and focus on doing your poses. You cannot just bend and achieve downward facing dog or doing head stands with just attending few practice. It is dedication, focus and hard work. It teaches you that in order to achieve something; you must work hard for it and keep the eye in the prize. I must admit seeing my classmates doing upward facing dog or head stands makes me want to try it but my instructor told me not to force myself on poses that makes me feel uncomfortable. I will be able to achieve difficult poses gradually by practicing more.

Having tried Yoga for a month was a fun and healthy experience. I must admit there are still many poses to learn and try. One month is not enough to reach your “keeping fit goals”. Yoga is a practice you must do regularly in order to appreciate all of its benefits. Having learned new activity keep up with my happiness project for 2017.

Oh and few additional tips for those who would love to try yoga…

  • Read and research. There are many yoga classes being offered in the metro so check out which suits you best or try all classes for fun.
  • Wear comfortable and appropriate work-out clothes so you can move and stretch freely. There are affordable choices for your Yoga clothes from H&M, Forever21 and Eskina PH.
  • Listen well to your instructor
  • Respect spaces and yoga mats. If you are in a class, try not to step on yoga mats.
  • Drink more water. Hydration is very important
  • Keep an eye on what you eat
  • Listen to your body. If you feel any discomfort doing the poses, just pause for a while. Your instructor will not force you to do poses you are not ready to make.
  • Do not hesitate to ask questions or share information with your instructors.
  • Do not be conscious while doing Yoga poses. Just focus and relax.

Looking forward for the next session!

Below are the snapshots of my Yoga sessions (Cellphones are not allowed inside the studio, so my picture are usually prior to my actual class)

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