Christy Mathis - Newly Wed, Business Professional and an exquisite Blogger/Writer
About a month ago one of co-workers told me that there was finally a yoga studio on our side of town (which isn’t the hip or trendy part of the city). She had seen a Groupon for it and thought that maybe I would be interested in trying it out with her. I’ll be honest and say that I have never really been a physically fit person; exercise isn’t my cup of tea. I’ve tried running – HELL NO; jazzercise – Meh; strength training – NO; and a few other at home video options that I would rather forget. Yoga seemed like a reasonable option. I was willing to try a class to see how I felt about it.
The studio had an offer online for a free class – woo hoo! Free trial, nothing to lose, that’s my kind of deal. I signed up for the free class, chose a date, and spent a good thirty minutes trying to pick an outfit that didn’t accentuate my fat rolls and wouldn’t move around to expose my blindingly white stomach if I for some reason ended up with my head lower than my bottom.
I nervously drove to the class with no idea of what to expect. I’ve seen women downtown (where I work) walking around, all skinny and whatnot in their tiny tight yoga outfits, mat hanging by a strap from their shoulders. I didn’t fit into the stereotype I had created in my mind and I had many concerns about my stamina, flexibility, and general ability. My hope was that I would be more motivated in a class setting, assuming the class wasn’t filled with super bendy stick figures that made me feel like a beached manatee trying to downward dog.
I think the first step of trying anything new is the scariest. Making the decision to try it and sticking with that decision is the hardest part. Signing up for the class was super easy; making the decision to leave my house and go to the class required intent. But I’m a strong willed person; once I set my mind to something, I go at it with full steam. So off I went, in my chosen outfit and with my yoga mat, to see if I could actually do this or not.
I arrived at the class and the moment I walked in, I knew this was the right place for me. There were real women in there. Women with curves and no makeup and bright welcoming smiles! I didn’t feel an ounce of judgment being thrown my way as I crossed the threshold into a new experience. The instructor, Sarah, welcomed me and I took my spot on the floor and relaxed into the easy conversation that was already happening in the room.
A little bit over an hour later, I was a hot, stretched, and slightly sweaty mess. But I was also very proud. I had completed the class with only a minimal amount of pain and struggle. I knew that this was something I could do. A few days later, I went back, Groupon in hand, ready to try again. The class was harder than the first one. I huffed and puffed while struggling to contort myself into positions that were difficult due to the aforementioned rolls of fat. I felt muscles shaking and sweat dripping as I gracelessly moved from one pose to another. At the end I sprawled out on the floor in corpse pose feeling utterly happy. I had pushed myself in new ways. Physically – obviously – but also mentally. I was exhausted but I never quit (even when I really thought I would) and I no longer listened to the voice in my brain that says “I can’t”.
Sarah was nothing but wonderful; praising our efforts, our strength, our uniqueness. Telling us how beautiful we were, how every body (whether big or small, rounded or fit) was gorgeous. With constant affirmation and purely constructive teaching I found that I was addicted to the feeling of joy and accomplishment I get at the end of every class.
Last week I completed my first tripod (for those of you not into yoga this is where you are on your head and your knees are resting on your elbows). It was the most exciting thing to happen in my life since meeting my husband! I stood on my head and lifted my feet up using my vodka loving, flabby core and I actually did it! I felt like a freakin’ warrior; there was nothing I couldn’t do if I could do this.
With each new class, I discover more about my body and what it is capable of doing. But more than that I think, despite my constant wobbling and inability to do a half moon with touching the wall or stepping down a million times, I’m amazed at the happiness that fills my heart. I may still feel like a struggling manatee sometimes but I know that each person in that room would disagree with me and that is an amazing realization.
As the weeks go by I have decided that the women in these classes are my “tribe”. We all take those deep breaths together and let go of our pain and worries and insecurities in unison. We grow strong together; applauding each success and offering encouragement at every possible moment. It’s truly a place of acceptance and joy mixed with a surprising amount of fun and camaraderie. Women are notorious for being hard on each other but I have realized that in this magical place, the goal is actually to stop being so hard on ourselves.
Mona Kingery- Original and Longest Fitness Yoga with Sarah Satisfied Customer
In 2013 I decided to take a free yoga class at the Public library because rumitory arthritis has taken a toll on my body and I was desperate to find a better healthier me. Those first few classes I was extremely limited as to what I could do. I could not get down to the ground with out being able to get back to my feet on my own. Sarah was able to work with my aliments and offered modifications for a while. After about 4 weeks of yoga I was stronger, more flexible, and confident. That's when the most amazing thing happened for me, I could finally get up and down on my own unassisted!! Now 3 years later I can do it all!! I have earned both my white and blue yoga strap status through Sarah's fun and encouraging advancing program. But the best part is, I can downward dog with the best of them! Because of Fitness Yoga with Sarah I am active again!
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Is a retired UPS manager. She is a Wife, Mother, and active Grandmother to a beautiful family, she has this to say...
I love Fitness Yoga with Sarah. Joined the studio about 2 months ago. Have been going regularly 2 X week since then. I have a herniated disk in back and 2 total knee replacements. Immediately I feel better...no more stiffness and back pain in the mornings. I amaze myself at some of the positions/poses that I find myself in. Not to worry if you haven't exercised or done yoga before. Fitness Yoga with Sarah is a no judgment zone. No one cares about how much you weight or your body type. We are all there to create a healthy, stress free and pain free lifestyle. Who cares if we lose weight in the process? Recent studies show that yoga is just as effective as aerobics in reducing/eliminating heart disease. Sarah has structured hours...some mornings and some evenings to make it possible that we all get to enjoy yoga. Sarah is very patient and gentle with us. She is one of the sweetest spirits you will ever meet. Come and join the fun! You won't be disappointed !