The Daily Beet

03 Jan Merry Yoga/Happy Yoga 2014

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Saving Time with Char

Merry Yoga/Happy Yoga 2014

By the time you read this, your holiday tree may be history.   Most people who know me are still in amazement that I am taking yoga.  Yup, three-four classes per week, it has become a saving grace for me.

On the day of my last birthday, I made a list of things that were intimidating to me.  There were three things on the list:  Bungee jumping; skydiving; and yoga.  Now,  by comparison, you are probably thinking that  yoga wouldn’t be on the same list as thrusting yourself from a cliff.  But, it was.  I think it began some time ago when someone asked me if I wanted to go to a “Yoga for Round Women Class.”  As a former 300 pounder, I remember thinking, “Round women, really?”  And, like always, going to a yoga class meant that more than likely, I would have been the largest women in the class.

But, after that BIG birthday in November, I found a yoga studio, quite by accident, and decided that I would sign up for a beginner’s class.  Not wanting to spend too much money, I got a yoga mat at the store, $5 Below.  It was as thin as an onion skin, and smelled like a petroleum tanker.  When I got to the class, I WAS THE ONLY THERE!  I politely said to the teacher, “I guess you have a class quota, and since I am the only one here, shall we re-schedule?”  Nope, we headed into the yoga room, and my only freak-out was that I hadn’t had a pedicure!

Not sure what transpired in that 90 minute session, but I was cognizant of one thing.  And it was time. No clocks.  No iPhone.  No distraction.  Just me, a yoga mat, and that nice teacher.  I am a funny and clumsy, but ever-so-diligent yoga student.  I’ve been to yin classes, movement classes, gentle classes, still classes, and I have even been to more than one yoga studio.  This is huge.

And here is what I know…I am very worthy of the time afforded me during a yoga class.  And the other thing I know?

I often say this to myself:  How different would my life be if I wasn’t plant-strong?  I kind of see my plant-strong opportunity as a fork in the road.  Yoga?  Really?  I would not have ever had the courage and strength to put on a yoga shirt and pants and head to a studio.  It just wasn’t part of my fabric.  Yoga refreshes me.  Gives me confidence.  Strengthens my body.  All without a clock and a sense of time.  Being plant-strong is life’s confidence builder.

My intentions at the end of a yoga session are about balance and wise choices.  To challenge yourself is a good thing.

If  you decide to take a yoga class, here is the list I made for myself to make my first experience a good and lasting one:

  1. Visit the studio, check it out.  A friend once told me she left in the middle of a yoga class, because a mouse was doing a Conscientious Mountain Pose with her.  I asked:  Do you have a rodent issue here?
  2. See where the yoga instructor got his/her training.
  3. What kind of supplemental materials are provided (straps, blocks, etc.)
  4. Check out the bathroom.  Call me a nut, but I figured that would be a good measure.  And it was.
  5. Talk to friends.

Find a yoga class for yourself.  And just go!  Do your research and make your class a great experience.  Go to one class, and you will get hooked!

Wishing you a wonderful 2014 filled with kindness and wisdom.  And all of the plant-strong timesavers there are in a day.


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Char Nolan for Engine 2
Char Nolan

Char Nolan is a blog contributor and Engine 2 Extra Coach. She's been plant-strong for almost five years. From Philadelphia, she works in the plant-based whole foods arena, and is also the "vegan features writer," for the "Town Dish." She's lost a great deal of weight from being plant-strong, practices yoga, and is always dabbling in her kitchen to create new, plant-strong recipes. Armed with a degree in public health, Char also holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from e-Cornell.

  • justme
    Posted at 11:49h, 03 January

    Thanks for another interesting post. I’m glad you like it, too. I do yoga at home with Ester Eckhart’s online classes. I’ve grown to be more and more a homebody and prefer to stay home. This way I can do my classes at 4 AM if I want. This with foam rolling makes me feel great! Winter isn’t as hard with this movement.

  • Debbie Deisher
    Posted at 15:24h, 03 January

    so cool and encouraging as I am in my yoga teacher training… after passing a milestone birthday! Been plant strong for about 3 years!

  • Susan Baxter-Blum Sr.
    Posted at 17:35h, 03 January

    Lovely post.. think I will give it a try!! thanks great writing!!

  • Diane LeBeau
    Posted at 13:42h, 05 January

    Motivating, Char. I will start simple: at home. Thanks for inspiring us.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 17:16h, 07 January

    Ummmm,,,, can teen guys do yoga or is this for girls?

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 16:03h, 09 January

    Seriously, I always see girls talking about yoga, girls doing yoga, never guys. So, can guys do yoga or is it a girl exercise?

    • Stephanie
      Posted at 10:34h, 14 January

      Great article! Absolutely guys can. Honestly, many of the renowned yogis (teachers) are men, and my teacher of choice, is a man. My husband reluctantly tried it after a year of my asking, & loved it! Many professional athletes do yoga to maintain and improve flexibility, balance, and strength. But there are many types, and not all types fit with each persons’ personality or physical fitness levels, so research, then just try some different ones.
      I was formerly very active, but due to injury and life getting busy, had been pretty sedentary for several years. I was afraid, but tried a low key yin/restorative class that focused on breathing, careful stretching. It moved slowly, but ironically, is still challenging, physically & mentally. Just what the ol’ doctor ordered!! I next tried a traditional Ashtanga Vinyasa class, also a favorite, but moves a little faster, and is more strength building. I next tried a hot yoga–once again, I was kind of afraid of the heat, but it was fine, and felt great.
      One thing to note– the teacher can often affect if you like it, more so than the class type. An experienced teacher will often assist individuals and correct form gently, remind you to breathe, & help modify poses that aren’t super easy.
      Jump in with both feet, the water’s fine. 🙂

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