I have a lot on my plate, and not a whole lot of free time to myself to do what I like. So why do I add something like a yoga class at my gym to my crazy schedule? Why not just practice at home and save myself a little time, money, and headache? Simple: Yoga is a rewarding practice in and of itself, but the lessons I learned from the people around me are ones that I would never get from a YouTube video, memorized sequence, or app-led meditation.
The young girls that are nervous and shy, looking for an exercise regimen that works for them, some peace and quiet, a reason to wear yoga pants. It doesn't matter why they're there in the first place, but seeing these girls go from trying a new fad to really loving the practice itself reminds me of why I started my yoga journey in the first place.
The older man that is seriously more flexible than I am. There is one man in particular in my class that is always in the studio before I am, warming up. He perfected his yoga breath and practices it with no hint of embarrassment. He is well into his 60s and can put his feet behind his head! While he is clearly an advanced practitioner, he never seems to judge anyone else in class. He is in his own world, completely focused on the practice and the moment he is in.
The old women that save each other mat spaces every Tuesday morning. They rarely see each other outside of class but in those brief moments before and after our practice they are able to catch up on each other's lives. In that time I can see how much they care for each other even if their friendship is only surviving on these once or twice a week meet ups. They remind me that friends don't need to be by your side all the time, that they are the people that care for you no matter how often you are able to see them.
My instructor that has three sons, with the youngest being an 8-month old that is blind and deaf in one ear. She is the most positive person I have ever met, and she devotes her life to helping people like me reach the same level of life satisfaction. She brings her three kids to the gym where she teaches three classes (not to mention her classes at other gym locations) and then loads them all into the car to enjoy the day. Her family is tight-knit and supportive and she truly is her name personified: Joy.
Because of these people, I make it a point to physically go to a yoga class at least once a week. There is something about relieving stress and exploring your inner self with a room full of others that take yoga to a new level. If you haven't tried it yet, give it a go! Most studios offer their first class free - It could change your life!