|"Tree" pose on the beach in Costa Rica|
If I were to tell you that I have been practicing yoga for six years now strictly for the joy it brings to my life, I would be lying through my teeth. Even when I am dedicated enough to commit religiously, say three or four times a week, I have never been able to “master” yoga, I am always mediocre, and always frustrated. I have faced the fact that my weak shoulders don’t support my body enough for me to “Chaturanga” without placing my knees on the ground. In addition to that, all too often I find myself spending hundreds of dollars on new yoga gear. This is the vicious cycle that yoga perpetuates, and I personally, have bought into it entirely.
Let me be clear, I am not referring to the life style of real yogi’s who eat vegan and Om Shanti Shanti their way through all of life’s obstacles, I am referring to the popularization of yoga for us twenty-something’s and Gen X’ers. Those of us who don’t take it all too seriously, and prefer to use yoga as a means to loose weight and stay healthy rather than a life changing experience (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) I will be completely honest, I have laughed my way through every meditation exercise I have ever been a part of, and I’ll save y'all the trouble of admitting this yourselves and just say it….we do it for the outfits.
It started back in 2007 when I tried out a local yoga studio owned by a pseudo Canadian celeb, and tried my hand at “Ashtanga” for the first time. The result was partial paralysis rendering my legs, arms and abs useless for three days. This did not impede my determined self; I returned to the studio as soon as I could walk and tried several more classes. As a bonus for joining, it turned out that one of the instructors happened to be a young, attractive male who ended every Shavasana by leaning over and massaging only a select few female students in the class; needless to say, I was hooked! Hey, I was single at the time, can you blame me?
After my first week I walked away firmly believing the following. Yoga is a great excuse to buy new yoga gear, handsome men massage you while you are enjoying “nap time”, and you will live to be 100 if you repeat three times a week. I was enjoying my new hobby, and every time I visited a mall and passed by Lulu Lemon with their bright and fashionable apparel staring at me from their display windows I couldn't help myself. Every few weeks there were new styles, new cuts and colours, new fabrics (it wicks your sweat away like magic!) and of course, I had to have it all! My desire to have the latest crop pants, extra grip yoga mat, non- slip yoga mat cover (I thought the may itself was extra grippy?), environmentally friendly water bottle, and gym bag with useless hidden compartments, was essentially what kept me enrolled in yoga from 2007 through 2010.
My commitment to my yoga practice remained bland until November 2011 when I travelled to Costa Rica with my best friend for a yoga retreat. We discussed it several times over the years always in the context of “one day”, but before we knew it, it was that day, and we were flying to Nosara Costa Rica with a suit case full of nothing but stretch pants and sports bra’s. Wait up, I know you’re thinking this sounds pretty hardcore and contradictory considering I just confessed my love for yoga was in fact a love for Luon (this is the remarkable wicking material Lulu Lemon has). And you’re absolutely correct to feel that way, my reasoning for embarking on this trip was to enjoy a leisurely week in Costa Rica with my bestie rather than work on my yoga practice.
I soon discovered there was no time for sun tanning or beach-going, our days were to be spent in the confines of the yoga studio. The studio, it should be stated was a stunning space located on the top floor of the retreat, with 360 views of mountains, an active volcano, and endless miles of untouched beach. Cringing during yet another minute-long hold of powerful pose wasn't so bad when I had this view to gaze upon. We would rise in the morning and attend a power flow class, then head off to nourish ourselves on flax seeds and crispy soy flakes, and we spent the afternoons lounging indoors to avoid the torrential downpour which never eased up.
|A typical breakfast while on the retreat|
Lately I have gone through a self-doubt period, while facing my fear of turning 30. I have questioned what I do with my time because it seems that suddenly time has become a precious commodity. I have decided, shockingly, that yoga should be something I stick to at least three time a week. So tell me, if you practice yoga what are your motivating factors, and while your at it, what is your outfit of choice? ;)