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Jumpstart Your Yoga Journey

Yoga can be for ANYONE. All ages, all body types, all levels. For some reason, people have all sorts of assumptions or preconceptions about yoga. I know men who have thought yoga is for girls (wrong), I know older folks who have thought they were too old (wrong), I know people who have said they're not flexible enough (also wrong), and then there are the people who think yoga is just sitting, humming, and worshiping budda. Alright, I think you see where I'm going with this.


I firmly believe yoga is universal and available to anyone who gives it a try.


My own yoga journey really began my junior year of college. Oddly enough, I have my statistics professor to thank for this. She continued to mention her yoga studio during class (shoutout O'Connor). She said she NEVER missed yoga, so not to count on her availability Mon/Wed/Fri from 9:30-10:30.


I had tried yoga here and there, watching youtube videos, and attending a few on-campus classes - nothing serious. But for some reason (I guess out of curiosity), I emailed O'Connor asking her which yoga studio she went to. She immediately replied to my e-mail giving me the information and asking if I would like to go with her that Saturday. Uhhhh yoga with my stats professor... not sure about that one. But Saturday came along and there I was, sitting in this random yoga studio in High Point, NC, wondering what I had gotten myself into.


I was immediately intrigued by Kelle - the yoga instructor. She was tough and fierce, yet calm and gentle. She was independent yet created a strong sense of community. I was in awe - and that's when I realized I might be into this whole "yoga" thing. I went back to Yoga Mindset (the studio) on Monday, and then Wednesday, and Friday. Next thing I knew I had signed up for my monthly membership and was a regular.


Yoga became a vital part of my routine. I looked forward to every minute spent in the studio, and the community I got to be apart of. I invested in a quality yoga mat and worked with Kelle one-on-one to improve my strength, confidence, and foundations. I formed relationships with the other members of Yoga Mindset. Most importantly, this place and this practice was an escape from my eating disorder, depression, and anxiety. No one seemed to judge me, or to poke and prod at what was going on. I felt ok when I was there. I was accepted and cared about.


To this day: when I step onto my mat, I can just be. It's just me, my grounding, MY practice.


Yoga Mindset and this newfound passion kept me going. I'm genuinely unsure whether I would have made it through to the end of my junior year without the support of the studio and the practice. Professor O'Connor and I ended up becoming very close friends as well and I was her TA in stats for the next few semesters.


The summer after my junior year was a time of recovery and healing. I continued to practice at home but missed the sense of community, and got a bit out of the routine of making it a priority.


My second strong wave of appreciation for yoga came senior year. I went back to Yoga Mindset and continued practicing there, but I also discovered Dancing Dogs Yoga in Greensboro NC. HELLO to hot yoga: power vinyasa edition. AMAZING. I had never sweat more in my life or been so inspired by the talented people surrounding me. All ages, all body types, all levels. At this point, I was additionally working out at the gym and building body strength which I did not have previously. I saw tremendous strides in my vinyasa flows, stability, strength, and confidence. All around I was able to make strides in my yoga journey - mentally, psychically, and emotionally. I let go of the fear of failure, and the fear of falling. I tried things relentlessly until I achieved them. I got to know my body, what it likes, what it doesn't, and how it moves.


During COVID-19 I have made it a point to continue to practice with diligence. I aim to take one or two online zoom classes a week, practice myself when I get the chance, stretch, and continue strength training.


Yoga is a journey for each and every individual. Even the BEST yogi's I have learned from are still learning themselves and pushing new limits. I have made great progress, but the future progress to be made is even greater.


No two people have the same yoga journey either. It means something a little different to each person and feels different too. But when you discover its connection to mind, body, and soul - its ability to make you feel strong as a warrior, relaxed as a baby, and stable as a tree - you realize its more than just "yoga".


I encourage each and every person to try it and to stick with it for a bit. It's hard at first! It takes patience, dedication, and sometimes a bit of frustration. But just like you aren't going to get up one day and run a marathon, you aren't going to get up one day and be a world-traveling yogi. Be kind to yourself - be patient - the reward will come!


Of course, I wish you could each try yoga in a studio with a strong community and teachers right there to help you, but with quarantine and social distancing, online is still a great place to start! So until studios doors are open once again, I wanted to share some resources with you all!



  • Jessica Olie on Instagram - she is my inspiration!! Great yoga strengthening exercises plus does LIVE workouts/yoga flows each week

  • https://www.instagram.com/jessicaolie/

  • also, follow her align account @alignwithollie


  • The Peloton APP! There is a 30-day free trial and a whole section just on yoga flows for all levels! (not to mention the plethora of other workout videos) After your 30 days, it's around $12 a month.

  • https://www.onepeloton.com/app



  • My personal Instagram page devoted to yoga

  • I try and post daily inspiration, new poses, workout ideas and some flows as well!

  • instagram: @annagrace.yoga


Let's do this yoga thing together!









xxoo

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