I Started Doing Yoga and Now It’s The Only Exercise I Want To Do.
When everything shut down because of COVID-19, no one knew how long we would be doing this. Without access to my local gym, I needed some way to keep getting the exercise I’ve come to rely on for my physical and mental health. I tried returning to the at-home resistance band workouts I started at the very beginning of my workout routine, but my son is older now and can’t keep his hands off the bands. I needed to do something to keep my body feeling active.
I decided to try yoga. After two weeks of nothing but that, I decided it’s all I wanted to do from now on. And now, three and a half months into quarantine, it’s all I’ve been doing.
Yoga has taught me to not only be mindful of my body, but to accept its limitations and work with them, not against them. In my early practice I took a weightlifting approach to poses and positions that were giving me trouble, in that I tried to proudly “power through them.” I ended up hurting myself. After that humbling experience I learned to take it easier and slower. I learned to not be ashamed of my body’s difficulties, to not view them as something to be “powered through” but as guidance to where I needed to be. I feel more connected to my physical self now than I did when I was pushing weights and powering through obstacles.
I have a long way to go. My leg muscles are wickedly tight and my flexibility is moderate at best. Where some practitioners make fast progress I am struggling. I may have lost some of the muscle definition I had gained doing weightlifting. But despite all that, I feel somehow better than I did grunting against the strain of weights.
Maybe once quarantine is over I’ll seek out an instructor who can push me to greater flexibility and strength. Maybe I’ll keep doing my own thing, at my own pace, and remain somewhere in a low intermediate level of practice. Whatever happens, I’m glad I discovered this form of exercise, introspection, and bodily acceptance. It’s been a huge help during these difficult days of isolation.