My Yoga Journey Begins
Sitting here brainstorming for my first blog topic, so many ideas flood my mind. But one question that I get asked most often is - how long I've been practicing yoga and how exactly did I get started. So I figured what better way to start a yoga blog then to share a little bit of my journey with all of you.
I've always been interested in yoga. I've always found the flow and the postures so beautiful and elegant. The flexibility is incredible. Not to mention yogis always seem so happy and at peace. But despite my intrigue, I always let fear stop me.
I've never been very athletic. I played basketball in junior high and then ran track and cheered in high school; up until my head murmur benched me. I was very easily winded and would have a hard time breathing. I'd begin to feel faint, as my leg grew weaker. So I figured it was in my best interest to take it easy and take a break from sports.
I've also suffered from severe anxiety since a very young age. This has always made me feel very uncomfortable in public places and around large crowds. The thought of attending a studio for formal classes was just too overwhelming.
It wasn't until spring of 2017 that I finally purchased a Groupon for Bikram, thanks to a good friend of mine. Yes, I said Bikram. Although I'd never taken a formal class, I dove right in. I absolutely LOVED the studio, the people, and the classes. The Bikram was a bit much for me some days, as I was recovering from some health stuff which caused me to feel weak and faint at times. But the heated yoga flow was by far my favorite. I really enjoyed every aspect of this class; from the warm up to the mediation cool down at the end. Once the Groupon expired, I was unable to enroll in more classes due to financial reasons. #singlemamalife But that does NOT mean I stopped practicing.
One day after a HIIT workout, a friend of mine showed me a tripod headstand she'd been working on. It was beautiful and didn't look too hard, I thought. I went home, turned on some tunes, and got right to work. I didn't care that my legs were still shaking from my workout. I could not wait to give this a try.
Much to my surprise, I nailed it on my first try!!! I was ecstatic! I yelled for my daughter to come take a picture; so I had proof, just in case. As Chloe came running into the living room I heard her say "Wow, mom... You're doing it!" I was so pleased with myself. Little did I know, this was the beginning of my inversion addiction.
I slowly started to incorporate a gentle flow into my workout routine, stretching daily as well. It felt amazing and didn't take long for me to notice the progression. I loved how I felt inside and out.
I would practice for at least an hour each time. I would practice until I physically couldn't practice anymore. As I quickly caught on to the tripod and triangle headstands, I began transforming the headstands into a meditative yoga flow. I couldn't get enough of being upside down.
Now you remember, I mentioned some health issues earlier in this post... Let me fill you in on that a little more before going any further.
I was constantly getting dizzy and lightheaded, even when not being active. I even blacked out once, fainted, and broke my nose. This was when I realized how serious things were and that it was time to see a doctor.
The doctor scoped me out, asked me a ton of questions, and then ordered a few tests along with a bunch of blood work. Everything came back fine. They did note my murmur, but that was nothing new. They also reminded me of my vertigo, but these symptoms were much more severe.
In the months to come, I lost my appetite and dropped weight drastically. I was constantly nauseous and throwing up, nothing sounded good, and I was growing weaker by the day.
I dropped down to a measly 81 pounds at one point and the doctors said my body was now in starvation mode. This was extreme, even for me. Although I've always been petite, I cannot remember seeing such a small number on the scale. So it was back to the doctors for me.
I was then referred to a cardiologist, where more tests were ordered. I had to wear heart monitors for 2 weeks, calling in every time I felt dizzy or faint or saw the numbers spike on the monitor. After the 2 weeks was up, I was told I had low blood pressure and something called SVT. To my understanding SVT is a rapid, irregular heartbeat with palpitations. You mix this with my low blood pressure and my blood simply cannot flow properly which is why I was feeling so lightheaded. I was given some medication, told to increase my water and salt intake, as well as take it easy.
Being super amped to get into the best shape of my life, this was quite discouraging to hear. However, while doing the inversions I noticed I wasn't getting dizzy, even after being inverted for minutes at a time! Turns out inversions are very beneficial to your circulation. I've included some of the many benefits of inversions below.
Gives your heart a break
Helps your lymphatic system
Improves your balance
Builds core strength
Forces you to focus
Slowly but surely, I began to feel a little better as I regained my strength.
Even though I was hitting the gym about 3 times a week, I was still falling short of my goals and not seeing the results I wanted.
I decided to take a bit of a break from the gym and really focus on myself. I put a lot of time and energy into my nutrition and making sure I was getting the proper daily calorie intake as well as the proper nutrients my body needed. I also made sure to take some time for myself, which is something I've NEVER done being a single mom. It's not really a luxury I've always had.
After about 3 months I was weighing 104 pounds! Now this may not sound like a lot to some, but this was quite the victory for me, You see, I've never weighed over 100 pounds in my entire life, with the exception of being pregnant. & even then I only got up to 117 pounds at my heaviest.
I had done it!!! I am feeling good. I'm not getting dizzy. I'm eating clean and staying active. I love my new body and the weight I managed to put on. Now its time to tone and tighten it a little bit.
So all in all, its only been a little over a year since I began practicing yoga and I'm still just getting started. I may have had a few obstacles to overcome in order to get to where I am, but it was well worth it. I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for me.
Yoga has helped me fall in love with myself and has truly transformed my life. I'm looking forward to sharing more of my journey and hope that you will join me!