So I take yoga once a week. Funny - notice how I say "take" yoga but if I were taking aerobics I would say that I "go" to aerobics. I guess it makes sense because in a way, yoga is something you take in.
I started taking yoga six or seven years ago. I was trying to find a way to control migraine headaches, and I was willing to try anything! I was lucky - I clicked with the instructor of the first class I took and I've been with Mana ever since. It's probably true of any skill -- if you don't enjoy the teacher/coach, you probably won't enjoy the lessons. The way I've been taught yoga is this - our hour and a half class (there is no WAY I would last an hour and a half in an aerobics class!) consists of three parts - breathing, stretching and relaxation. It really is exercise for the masses if you can put aside any pre-conceived notions and enter into it with an open mind.
One of the best things about yoga, for me, is that it's not a competition. You do what you can do, there's no need to push yourself. You only do what feels right to you. Some nights, I just kind of check out after the first hour and go right to relaxation. I just lie on the floor, close my eyes and drift off. Some nights I can do the balancing poses, some nights I can't. I almost never do the kibalabati (sp?) breathing. Doesn't do anything for me. And that's okay. Yoga is about acceptance. You accept yourself and there is no judging. You just are.
And even though I know I couldn't carry a tune if my life depended on it, when I'm doing yoga, I can chant. My voice takes on tones that normally don't exist when I'm joining in with my classmates. I love to "ohm" My class consists of women with an occasional male guest. It's not that men aren't welcome, it's just that few men are man enough to try yoga. It's nice when we have one in our midst; it adds to the harmony. But usually it's just us chicks, and that's okay too. Everyone is open and accepting, and if you have a trouble or concern, you can share it and they will share their strength with you. At one of my low points after my separation, Mana had everyone gather around me and touch me. They just placed their hands on me wherever they happened to be - my head, my arm, my hip, my feet - and touched me. I know this is going to sound new agey and weird, but I could feel their energy. They gave me their strength. That was powerful.
So that's my yoga story; hope you enjoyed it.