About 7 years ago I began a new addiction. Yoga. Here's my story and how it led me to be in Times Square for the last 5 years for the summer solstice and to be an all-around better human!
I've always liked taking workout classes so I signed up to take an outdoor yoga class in Chicago. I liked it so much I decided to go back the following week, but rain moved the class to the teacher, Megan's, indoor studio, Tru Harmony (no longer open).
When I walked into the actual studio I noticed it was hot. Like so hot and humid I though something was wrong. Surely she did not expect my amateur yogi self to survive this! I also remember finding out it was a 75 min. class. But the stubborn girl that I am, I decided I can do anything once and so I did. I remember the feeling like I wanted to pass out but also surprised that I was able to do the poses a little better because the heat made me more flexible. It was a strange confidence booster.
At the time I was in between teaching jobs and didn't know what the next school year held for me. I had been with that school and kids for the last 5 years. I loved them and the school because I was so involved, but budget cuts forced me out being one of the youngest teachers in the school. I remember how hard it was to hear my principal tell me, "you are once of my best teachers, but I have to let you go." It just didn't make sense to me and I didn't think I would ever find a school that felt like "home" again.
Meanwhile, I decided to start an unlimited membership at Tru Harmony Yoga studio. I began to go every day. I loved the teachers, the sense of community and how they never judged me and always supported me and somehow seemed to be speaking straight to me and my current life situation. It was incredible. I was being challenged in a way I had never been before, both physically and emotionally.
I somehow convinced Andrew to join me even though telling someone to come sweat your brains out in the humid Chicago summer in a 105 degree room wasn't the most convincing argument, but he gave it a go. We were both hooked. We loved it like we had never loved any other workout.
Like the fashion loving lady that I am, it was also my first exposure to the Lulu girls. I remembered being in down dog and seeing a row of Lululemon symbols lined up on the backs of all the cool yoga girls and vowed as soon as I knew I had secured a new teaching job, I would go and get some of that Lululemon gear for myself.
As the weeks progressed I reconnected with a principal I had interviewed with out of college and he remembered me and offered me a job! I remember even getting the initial call while I was in the studio lobby. It was such a happy moment I'll never forget it. Especially now knowing how that job changed my life these past 5 years and all the amazing people I met because if it.
Yoga and my practice became my home, my happy place that I could take with me where ever I go. I also started going to Core Power, South Loop and made an amazing group of friends who are lovingly referred to as my Lobas. If you have ever seen a picture on social media of some stunning ladies with a tag of #yogalobas or #lobalove, this is them! I've met so many great people who turned into great friends and opened me up to so many new experiences over the years of doing yoga.
Early on I saw a picture of the Times Square Mind over Madness event in New York in a fitness magazine and thought it looked so incredible. Thousands of yogis gathered in such a crazy place, finding peace amongst the madness. I knew I had to go. I began hitting up my friends and finally found one who would go with me.
Since then I have not missed a summer solstice for the last 5 years! I've shared the experience with someone new each year and always have such a unique experience. This past month I went with Andrew, which was a first since he's always been too busy with a campaign at work to leave. Now that we moved to SLC, he was able to take the extra time off to join me. Technically it really was our family's first time going since Athena joined us in my belly.
As dramatic as it may sound, Yoga saved my life! It gave me hope at a low point in my life and made me appreciate everything I did have. It gave me a way to deal with stress and a way to release it and channel it into something powerful and restorative to my mind and body. It's also led to MANY a Lululemon purchase. Haha. Because of yoga it made leaving my teaching job in Chicago and Chicago itself this past year so much easier. I learned hard times get better and you have it within yourself to deal with them and find peace and happiness within the unknown, even if it is super painful and scary.
I will pretty much tell anyone and everyone to try yoga if they are unsure of it. Many people have had a bad first experience and never go back and I try to make them tag along with me to show them the magic! If you know me in real life, you know exactly what I mean, I've probably been on your case to join me to some class! It's lead me to taking all different kinds of fitness classes too. I'm never afraid to go alone because I know I will always find a home among like-minded people. My husband thinks it's funny how frequently I pick up new friends at workout classes. I seem to collect them.
I can't recommend yoga enough and hope you try it out and experience a fantastic life journey because of it too.