Yesterday, I wrote about how I felt like I was cracking up due to my nighttime anxieties. Trying never to give in and dwell on the negative, I decided I needed to do something about it.
So I picked the most cliché thing possible- I tried yoga for the first time!
Cliché or not, it was well worth it.
I’ve owned two yoga mats in my life and have never actually done yoga. Thanks to my friend Jordan, I finally got the push in the tush I needed to go.
We went to the donation-based Black Swan Yoga on 5th Street. The moment I walked in, I was struck at how peaceful and positive the atmosphere was. I’m not sure why this surprised me. It’s not like they play death metal and talk about cutting yourself at yoga. Everyone was so friendly and not in an over-the-top kind of way. Like a pull you in and hug you and make you feel all warm and gushy kind of way.
I sat down and was instantly struck by the fear that my feet might stink, but when I realized that yoga is not about being self-conscious, I let myself go.
I immediately gave myself over to it. I was ready to go there.
We did Vinyasa yoga. I’m not sure where this falls in terms of easy, medium or hard, but I was able to keep up with the help of Jordan explaining to me what certain poses were (who would have thought that Down Dog meant stick your butt in the air? Down Dog sounds more like flapping down on your stomach, splaying your arms and legs out and waiting for the instructor to come by and give you a treat).
I began sweating like a cow in heat and at one point almost passed out due to the fact that I a.) only had coffee, sparkling wine and no food in my stomach and b.) haven’t exercised since I was a 19.
At the end, as I laid on the mat, the instructor telling us to breath in and out and focus on what is in your mind, none of the thoughts of fear and anxiety came to mind. Instead I thought of the letters my Mom wrote on my napkins every day for elementary school lunch, the excitement I felt when I would see her fluid, pretty handwriting and the notes of encouragement and hope and love. I thought about the occasional text, email, phone message from my father saying that the best times in his life have always been with me, that I’m his adventure partner and our future holds so many more discoveries together. I though about my grandmother, my image of class and beauty. I thought about the smile of my boyfriend, the look of pride and supports he gives me every day. I thought about laying on Venice Beach alone at night. I wasn’t looking at the ceiling of the yoga studio, but of the stars. The ambient music became the waves and gulls. Alone on the beach has always been my “happy place”. It was then my warm tears started to intertwine with my sweat and I just let them run freely.
It was exactly what I needed.
It’s midnight and the anxiety I’ve been feeling at this time the past nights is smaller. I’ve regained a bit of my strength. Maybe going to yoga was only a placebo, but I always underestimate the power of physical exertion.
I’ll report back to you in the morning about how I slept through the night…
Next day: It took me awhile to get to sleep- I had a lot of energy from doing yoga. I danced around the living room to Arcade Fire (specifically trying to dance like Regine from the “Sprawl II” music video) for about a half an hour before settling down to read Stephen King’s “On Writing”. I got the best night of sleep I’ve gotten in awhile. I still had to take a sleeping pill out of fear I would wake up at 4AM, but I didn’t wake up every hour like I have been.
I decided to buy the current Living Social deal for one month of Barre or yoga classes. I really enjoy Barre but can’t afford the classes. The current deal is $59 for one month unlimited plus one month membership at Fitness 360 at the Triangle. If you haven’t tried Barre, I recommend it. It’s yoga, ballet and pilates rolled into one! It’s intense, but you feel amazing afterwards. Click here for the deal.
I’m also looking forward to attending more classes at Black Swan.