It was a sign and no before you stop reading not that kind of sign. There was no calling from god, the universe or Lord Shiva himself. Instead it was an actual chalkboard sign “one session can burn more calories than a 5k run”.
At that moment I was trying to not to fall out of a taxi on a night out (pre-drinks had got a little out of hand) and there it was, across the road from the bar, a shiny new yoga studio looking all swanky and to be honest a little intimidating.
During that point of my life I was attempting running as a way to keep fit and I had just about managed to improve my fitness from a “couldn’t run from a zombie apocalypse” kind of girl to being able to run (jog/maybe a fast walk) 5-6k in a semi-decent time. And I hated each and every single bloody moment of it.
Every last step of each run was torture. I would picture celebrities with bodies I idolised to encourage myself enough just to be able to get around my route. Yes I did see improvements in my fitness and yep my jeans were a little looser but it did absolutely nothing for my self-esteem.
Torturing myself with something I hated two to three times a week to be able to fit into a certain size of jeans or live up to the unrealistic prescribed standards set by today’s media was never going to be good for the soul.
So by giving me a valid excuse to ditch the running the sign spoke to me and I wanted to go inside right there and then (wine clearly increases your self-confidence) and the next day despite the hangover (potentially still slightly drunk, it was a really good night) I found myself back at the same spot walking into my first yoga class.
Now there are two times when yoga is not fun, the first is when you are full. Always practice on an empty stomach and the second, well the second is when you are hungover.
Adding in that this was hot yoga, entering a room that was heated to 42 degrees when you are still sweating out last night’s alcohol does not make for a nice experience. As I folded forward for the third time I felt the nausea rising up inside me and I had to spend the rest of the lesson in child’s pose feeling sorry for myself trying to decide what to buy from Mcdonalds on the way home.
As I left the studio with sweat still dripping down my face (in my hungover state it hadn’t occurred to me to bring my shower stuff) I felt deflated, maybe I just wasn’t cut out for any type of exercise.
Then a couple days later I had a word with myself (I really hate running) and I went back to the studio and tried again.
Leaving there for a second time with sweat still dripping down my face (I hadn’t bought my shower stuff again – maybe I’m just forgetful) I felt elated.
I had worked out for a full hour and loved it. Yes there were things I couldn’t do, times when muscles I didn’t even know I had were shaking but I LOVED IT. I had never really experienced enjoying working out so it was a whole new thing for me and it felt good.
Over the next few years I would look back on seeing that sign as a turning point for me, I practice yoga everyday, have the absolute privilege of teaching yoga for a living and I even drink a bit less!
So if you are reading this, still debating whether or not to take that step to your first yoga class please go, even if you spend the entirety in child’s pose it might just be worth it……..