The Y in Yoga
About 6 years ago, a close friend of mine asked me to come to her hot yoga class at the YMCA. I thought, sure why not? I had done some yoga in the past. How hard could this be? It’s just some stretching and breathing, no problem.
I quickly learned that I had no idea what I was doing, could barely hold myself up, and almost passed out. This was an advanced power, hot yoga class. It was so challenging in a way that I had never experienced. I didn’t have the strength, balance, and mental toughness it took… not to mention the hydration! I was determined not to give up. I wanted to master yoga and learn everything I could.
After some time, I realized that I couldn’t master yoga in a lifetime if I tried. You can always get better, you can always challenge yourself more, and you can always find new mind/body awareness. But I have been consistent with it for 6 years and I’m confident it has changed both my mental and physical stamina. I’ve been known to break out poses in airports, restaurants, at parties, the beach, and with goats!
It’s trite to say, but yoga really does have so many parallel life lessons. At its core, yoga is just you against yourself. You have to push yourself to break out of your comfort zone and try something new. You may fall flat on your face, but it only helps you grow and advance. Someone will always be better than you, stronger than you. But you have to tune that out and focus on what adjustments you need to make for yourself. Only you know how you need to show up on your mat and what is best for your practice. Some days you are balanced, some days you aren’t.
Yoga teaches you gratitude. It gives you time to slow down, breathe, and show yourself some love and grace. Most importantly, yoga teaches you to sit in your discomfort. Holding an uncomfortable position for a long period of time takes mental strength. Sitting in your pain challenges you to push through it and accept it. Bring yourself to the edge and see if you can stay a bit longer. Facing your discomfort can be trying, but empowering.
Like any growth experience, you most likely need a mentor. Thankfully, I’ve had a phenomenal, motivational teacher. Kacy Pleasants has been an instructor for over 10 years. She has taught at the YMCA for almost as long, including other popular studios and personal clients. She is charismatic, challenging, and makes it all fun with rockin’ playlists. In the pandemic, she even recorded classes for her followers that I still do to this day when I can’t get to the studio.
With over 20 locations in the greater Charlotte area, there is bound to be a YMCA location around the corner from where you live. Family memberships are very affordable, including child care, camp opportunities, after school programs, swimming, and waterparks. As a leading non-profit, the Y also provides a way to be involved in the community here in the Queen City.
I’m so grateful that Charlotte has such an affordable place like the Y with advanced classes and fantastic instructors. I’m grateful that I found yoga and didn’t give up. And, I’m grateful I can incorporate it into my daily life on and off the mat.
Because of yoga… when I find myself about to give up or break, I know I’m just about to find my balance.