Hear from Hancock Wellness Center’s own Greta Wilson on her almost twenty years of yoga love
Although I have heard and known about yoga since I was a child, it always seemed like a very “1970s” notion. A group of ladies pretending to be “eggs” and roll on the floor. Obviously, my perception was quite based in childhood imagery. In 2004, I had just started taking indoor cycling classes and I had a rider-friend who encouraged me to attend a yoga class after our high intensity cycling. I wish I could tell you it was love at first “warrior pose” but it wasn’t. Frankly, I found it boring and a bit tedious. My friend kept encouraging me to attend, however, and after about 4 or 5 months a shift started to occur. Whether it was the relaxing moment at the end where I could get a few minutes peace from chasing toddlers around the house or that I found my body stronger than it had been in years I realized my yoga journey had begun and my love for yoga grew.
I began to look forward to the flow and I began taking different styles of yoga – from rock-and-roll vinyasa to Pi-yo, and hot yoga to arm balance workshops. I progressed to taking yoga outside of my cycle routine, purposefully attending “just” a yoga class and finding an interesting change in my fitness and physique. Although I had been an avid weightlifter and exerciser, there was something different in the way that I felt both physically and mentally. In 2008, I became a certified cycling instructor and started teaching classes. It wasn’t long after that I decided to add yoga teacher training to my repertoire.
First Things First
When you begin yoga, the concentration and focus is on learning to move and bend in the poses. Often times, the slowness of pace, confusing pose names, or feeling awkward can be challenging for new practitioners. In the beginning, the reward can be finding strength in poses, not falling over, or having your first really good Savasana. Basically, your first yoga classes are movement driven, focusing on foot placement and arm placement, while your instructor is telling you to breathe and find stillness. It can be hard to understand.
Over time, the shift begins to occur and instead of thinking what pose is upcoming and focusing on that pose, you can begin to find ease in the poses. I’ve often heard the mind/body shift compared to the peeling of onion layers, getting deeper into the subtle changes in the body, noticing the breath, and shifting of energy moving though the body. The ability to change from an outward focus to an inward focus can awaken our attention to our state of mind. What happens on the mat can begin to become carried into your daily life. You begin to be able to let go of carried tension in the body, inflexibility in the mind, and see the world with more clarity.
Before You Know It
So fast forward a year or two (or 18!!!) and I am still an avid practitioner and lover of yoga. I still learn things on the mat on a regular basis about myself and where I am in life. Yoga has been intricately woven through my life and it is still where I turn to find peace and stability. A couple of my favorite yoga quotes are “I bend so that I don’t break” and “When you don’t have time for yoga is when you need it the most”.
This process isn’t a quick fix. Although I have met many people who did fall in love with yoga from their first practice, I think it is more common that it is a “slow burn”. You start to feel different class by class, week by week. Then it is like climbing a hill, you look back to your first yoga class and realize how far you have journeyed……and take it from me, the “hike” is worth the view.
Greta Wilson, Group Exercise Instructor
Hancock Wellness Center – McCordsville