Dear Yoga, I’ve been seeing other people

Dear Yoga,

There’s something I need to tell you.

You might want to sit down for this one, maybe make yourself some chai.

Okay. Here goes.

Yoga, I’ve been seeing other people.

I’m sure you must have guessed. I mean, the signs were all there. The aching, shaking muscles. The absences from my mat. The new exercise clothes from Lorna Jane.

I know it sounds cliched, but really – it’s not you, it’s me. Through no fault of your own, I felt my fitness had plateaued. The kilos were creeping on and no amount of vinyasa or salad would shift it.

So I joined a gym and started attending group classes. At first it was just Body Combat, a kind of mixed martial arts-aerobics hybrid. It made me feel like Lara Croft and Buffy combined. So I kept going. My shoulder ached for three days after my first class, but it felt good to know that I’d worked hard.

Next, I tried boxing. Feeling my gloves connect with the punching bag was even more satisfying than beating up imaginary foes. And I can honestly say I’ve never done more sit ups or push ups than I did in those classes.

A few years ago, I’d joined a gym. One of my favourite exercises had been squats using a barbell for extra resistance. So the next logical class to try was Body Pump. Using the barbell and plates, working up to around 800 repetitiions per class, I have to say I walked (shakily) out of that class feeling like a champion. I felt STRONG. POWERFUL. A WARRIOR.

Yoga, I can see you cringing at all this high-impact cardio and strength training. I know you want this to be over. But, I’m sorry to say, there’s more.

You see, I was going to leave it at these three classes. But then I missed a combat class one week, due to a Tigress Yoga workshop, and wanted to fit some cardio into my week. So I tried Body Attack. It was like areobics on steroids. There were daggy 80s and 90s moves (grapevine, anyone?). There was plyometrics. There was high kicking and there was running to various to corners of the room. And when we split the room for some agility exercises, it felt just like West Side Story. And you know how much I love a good musical.

But yoga, please don’t think I’ve forgotten you. I still unroll my mat as soon as I get home from work, it’s just sometimes I have to make my practice a little shorter. And those days when I do have to leave without you – well, it just makes me miss you all the more.

You may not believe me when I say this, but – I’m doing this for us. After just a few weeks, I already feel stronger, fitter. more flexible (which wa a pleasant surprise). I’m more confident and motivated in all areas of my life, not just my physical health.

All of this translates onto my mat. My headstands have never felt so strong and stable. I chataranga like a champion. And my arm balances – just, wow.

I’m actually doing more yoga since joining the gym. Initially, it was to counteract and balance the higher-impact, strength focused gym classes. Now, it’s purely because I want to move more. Bending, stretching, high kicking and squatting – it makes me feel so alive, so happy.

Yoga, I hope this has helped to put your mind to rest. Please believe me when I say that you are my first and greatest love. And I promise, that even though one day, I may hang up my boxing gloves, I will always, ALWAYS, come back to the mat.


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