All I Want for Christmas is NOT a Thighmaster

 

Well, this year for Christmas I got a yoga membership.

The good news is that I’ve wanted to join a yoga studio for a very long time. There were just a few things that were stopping me. I could give you a laundry list of reasons, and will in the future, but the real reason was this; I didn’t think I belonged.

If I’m really being honest, I was embarrassed about my body. I do not look like what I thought people that do yoga look like. I’m 37 years old, 280 pounds and through a lot of sports injuries, some questionable eating habits, and a general disregard for my health and well-being…well, let’s just say I’ve let myself go. I’ve treated my body much like one would treat a dollarama purchase and if, like me, you have kids you know that half the time those toys don’t even make it home before they’re broken. 

I’m a couple days shy of my first month of membership, a period during which you can attend as many classes as you physically or emotionally can, and here’s what I’ve learned; I should have started doing this a long time ago. 

I’ve never felt more comfortable around a group of people than I have with the instructors and participants at the studio. My second week there, several people recognized me, congratulated me on working so hard and generally made me feel super fantastic. I’ve been to a total of 14 classes in my first 27 days as a member and I feel like I’ve been there forever. As for the physical aspect itself, I feel great. Are my muscles a little bit sore? Yeah. Obviously. 

Yoga informed me that I have muscles in parts of my body that I didn’t even know existed. But there are two kinds of sore. There’s the sore where you just want to sit on the couch and watch Gilmore Girls (don’t judge) and not move because you hate your body. And then there is the kind of sore where you feel like all you want to do is stretch and get on your mat and breathe. That’s the kind of sore I am. 

After my very first class I made a joke with my wife that if I picked any two other participants and added their age together, it would equal mine. I also joked that I thought that every time I did a pose, my classmates were concerned I’d topple over and crush them. But like most things in life, that had nothing to do with them and everything to do with me. 

I felt old. I felt fat.

But after a month of yoga practice I’ve rethought these ideas. I’m not old. I’m starting late. Lots of people start things late and do great. I’m not fat. Well, I am, but unlike age, that’s something I can change. I’ve changed notches on my belt. I don’t know how much longer the old one could have held out before the entire belt disintegrated. I’ve lost both size and weight. But I’ve also realized something that’s much more important than either of those metrics.

I feel great. 

There’s no scale for that. I can’t look in the mirror and go, “wow, I’ve lost a lot of bad and some of my greatness is really coming along.” I mean, I could but that seems a little narcissistic. Yoga is something that makes me feel better. From the poses to the breath to the community, it has been an eye-opening experience and I’m glad my wife helped lead me into this next phase of my life. 

And I’m really glad she didn’t get me a thighmaster.

Guest Blogger, Dad, Husband, Media Mogul...and Yogi, 

Mike