Hi, my name is Avery, and I have practiced yoga every day for the past year. Truly, if I’m being honest, while I have not skipped a single day in the past 365, I don’t think I’ve missed more than a handful over the past five years. That might sound crazy to those alarm clock snoozers or early-to-bedders, but I’m here to tell you that it has totally changed my life. Allow me to explain.
A little over five years ago, I quit my full-time office job at a glossy fashion magazine to go out on my own as a freelance writer and stylist. Back then, I hadn’t exercised for more than a collective week since high school, and (spoiler alert!) that was longer than I cared to admit. So on that first Monday in May (yes, it really was…) I woke up before the sun—my very own boss—and was invigorated by the new non-scheduled schedule I was about to set up for myself.
I started the day with a hot power yoga class. I had dabbled in heated yoga in high school, and then again in college, but it never really stuck. Now, with little structure to my full-of-work days as a freelancer, I needed something to jump-start that energy. So, I slipped into my leggings and tank top, threw my yoga mat in my bag, and off to Earth Yoga I went. Quietly sitting in the back of the class, it took me all of 3 minutes to decide that I was going to sign up for an unlimited membership.
Very quickly, I found the teachers I loved and followed them to different studios around the city as my weekday routine, without fail, began with me sweating. I felt like it set my day up so that, no matter what happened, I had actually done something with it right then. It wasn’t long before those “five mornings a week, as long as I hadn’t had a late night” became “show up and kick that hangover’s ass,” which became “sometimes taking more than one class a day.” And while, early on, I was too embarrassed to admit any of that to most of my family and friends, it had become such a constant—a necessity—in my life that I don’t skip a class, even when I’m traveling.
Yoga has made me a more balanced, more relaxed, more driven, and more focused individual. Frankly, those are all qualities I already thought I had, until they became all-the-more easily conjured as I grew deeper in my practice. I never thought I’d be a person who Googles fitness studios before I ever book my flight to far-flung locales, but by seeking out studios in London, Paris, Cannes, and even tiny Greek islands, I’ve had experiences that I might not have otherwise had. It’s exploratory. It’s grounding. And when I touch down in a new location—whether my favorite home-away-from-home ski mountain in Tahoe or a brand-new city—I’m instantly settled as long as I find my way to a class.
Many days, I find myself at my hot yoga studio long past a class, fitting in that “one quick hour” before rushing off to dinner with wet hair. In fact, while most of my friends wouldn’t be all that surprised to read the following, I feel as though I owe it to you to admit that I’m sitting in the middle of the floor of my home-away-from-home, hot power studio as I write this particular love letter to yoga…though the heat is not currently at full-blast (though in the cold of winter, I wouldn’t mind it all that much, either).
There’s something about a yoga studio that encourages a community, whether you’re a first-timer, casual yogi, or full-blown master. And, I have to be honest that, despite my fitness fervor, I’m no master—I still don’t breathe like a lion, have never said an “Om” in my life, and I view savasana as more of a physical re-set than a mental one. But, I’m happy to report I since that first class in that studio in May, five years ago, I’ve since moved out of that dark back corner. And, whether bleary eyed or full of energy when I first make my way into the warmth of the room, I’m a better person when I leave it.
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