Back on the Mat

“Yoga is a dance between control and surrender — between pushing and letting go — and when to push and to let go becomes part of the creative process, part of the open-ended exploration of your well-being.” -Joel Kramer

Around this time last year, I made up my mind to quit my previous job. It was a difficult decision because I have come to love my teammates and the work allowed me to travel to places around the country that I never thought to go to. I learned a lot from meeting new people and trying out new experiences with friends, old and new. But deep inside, I was not happy. I was longing for more.

With all stress I was under with the 90 days I had left with my previous employer, my good friend, Joan, led us to discovering GuavaPass. It’s a subscription-based service that gives you access to a community of fitness studios, allowing you “passes” to a wide range of fitness activities. At the time we learned of it, there was a promo to avail 4 classes for only ₱499 instead of ₱1,399. We opted to try yoga but it had to be from four different studios.

I enjoyed yoga even if I was far from being as flexible as I was when I still 15 and did dance classes (I could split and cartwheel back then). Yoga felt like my kind of exercise because it forces me to learn how to breathe properly. For an asthmatic, it was a good workout for my lungs as well.

I loved it so much, I bought a set of gear for it.

But a wrist injury and a resignation later, I had to stop yoga for a bit. I am pretty sure I did not injure my wrist at yoga but there was a small swelling in my left inner wrist. So, I found my hand in a splint that the doctor had me wear for a month. I would cheer myself up by pretending laser beams shot out of it, aiming at my friends at work and pretending to blast them one at a time (work drove me crazy that way).

I wanted to be back earlier but I sprained my ankle badly last March. Damn, I am injury-prone.

With new members joining our team, my network was also expanding. Thanks to our new colleague, Rina, I got to enroll and get a 30-day unlimited package with Bliss Yoga. It is conveniently located where I work and the schedule pretty much works for me. I now have to reason to get back on the mat. I have missed yoga terribly and being on a yoga mat again excited me.

What have I noticed now that I am back to doing yoga?

  1. My wrists still hurt when I exert effort for certain poses and when I struggle to keep myself from slipping. The yoga mat I bought was made from PVC material and it meant being slippery until such time it’s been used enough that it starts giving traction. So, I got myself a new TPE yoga mat. It’s not slippery from the start and is more environmental friendly. Got mine at ₱895 from Planet Sports in Glorietta. I am currently looking for yoga gloves to prevent slipping even more.
  2. I still hold my breath in when I focus on a certain pose. I have that bad habit of forgetting to breathe when focusing on a physical activity. That’s why I run out of breath when climbing the stairs or jogging/running. My officemate once teased me, “Monmon, nagpapapayat ka, hindi nagpapahukay puntod (roughly translates to “you’re trying to lose weight, not preparing to go to your grave”).
  3. My left knee has not completely healed. Remember when I sprained my ankle? When I lost my balance, I landed on my left knee which had a rather large bruise that took weeks to go away. Turns out, it still hurts to this day even with the bruise gone. I must have bruised my bone in the process. So, I’ll go back to my doctor to have it checked.
  4. I still take mini breaks. One of the things we are taught in yoga classes is to always listen to our body. If we feel we can push further, we are encouraged to do so. But, if a pose feels compromising, we are free to modify or to not do it at all. We are taught to respect ourselves by acknowledging our limits and accepting the extent of our abilities at a certain point in time.
  5. I forget all my problems when I am on the mat. Maybe it’s because I’m more focused on surviving the class than anything else, haha! But, a good one hour of yoga allows me to quiet my thoughts and focus on myself. I also find that I am better able to focus on work afterwards.
  • Through more practice, I know I can become stronger and more flexible. I cannot expect to be already as good at it as those who have been practicing for years. One push and one stretch at a time, I’ll get there.
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