My Journey to Yoga, Evolation and Self

My first experience at evolation yoga in Tampa, FL was a memory that will stay with me forever.  Before I start explaining it in such great detail that you feel like you are living those moments and breathes with me, I first must tell you how I came to discover it.

My life was crazy, or at least I felt it was.  I had a kid, husband (kid), dog (kid), and a full time career.  For the 3 years leading up to this momentous moment, I had forgotten “Me Time” and felt like I didn’t know which way was up.  I had forgotten who I was.  What I was.  How to just be.  I was pretty sure I was on my way to having an early mid-life crisis, in the middle of having a mid-life crisis, or possibly at the tail end of one.  I no longer recognized the person in the mirror or the life that I was leading.  I was such a type A personality that having a child threw my whole “life plan” for a loop.  I don’t usually read instructions, but if there was an instruction manual on having a well-balanced life after having a child I would have not only read the manual but memorized it.

About 3 to 4 months leading up to my first class at evolation, I read an article online about meditation.  So being the scholarly type that I am (feel free to interject joke here if you know me personally) I read every article that I could on meditation.  Leaving out the one’s that made it sound like a cult thing.  That was it.  I was going to meditate.  Well, I sucked at it.  I tried the quiet room with meditation music playing in the background and a scented “relaxing” candle.  I tried the beach at sunset by myself and the lovely couple with the large dog that wouldn’t leave me alone.  Nothing seemed to work.  My mind wondered with my laundry list of things that needed to be done before I could go to sleep each night.

It was only after I read another article on meditation during someone’s yoga practice that it got me to thinking.  Hmm, yoga and meditation.  Never tried yoga but at this point I was willing to try just about anything to find some sense of self.

I went straight to Target and bought myself a yoga mat and a DVD box set of all things yoga.  I was so proud of myself as I was about to move my body for the first time in years.  That evening after putting my little one to bed I embarked on what would be possibly the most awkward and ugly interpretation of something that possibly resembled yoga.  It was horrible.  They were talking to me as if I already knew the postures, the breathing, etc.  I was a mess.  I was sweating but not due to a great workout but because I was so frustrated and embarrassed as my husband was laughing under his breath of course.  I eventually sat down on the sofa with the video playing and drank a glass of wine.  This seemed to be my kind of yoga.

A few more attempts with the yoga DVD’s and I was at least at a point that I felt confident enough to go to a class.  My first class was not at an evolation yoga studio but it was a success.  I walked in to a “free” class that packed us in like sardines.  Let’s face it, everyone likes free stuff.  The only place for me was near the front of the room.  To this day I’m not sure what style of yoga it was, but I was pretty damn good.  The instructor after class asked how long I had been doing yoga since I didn’t raise my hand at the beginning of class when she asked who was new.  I didn’t want to stand out or draw attention to myself.  When I told her that I had been doing it alongside some DVD’s I picked up for about 2 weeks she said I was a natural.  A natural – me!  This was strange to me as I was more worried during class about what others were doing (please don’t look at the hippo in the front of the room).  I couldn’t wait to go home and tell my husband.  That is exactly what I did.  I went straight home all pumped up and glowing with excitement.  Told my husband and started going to every “free” yoga class I could find.  These quickly ran out I might add.

Life was still crazy and at times crazy was an understatement.  In fact, I don’t think Webster’s Dictionary or psychiatrists have a word for what I was going through.  So, I did what all normal working moms in their early 30’s do…go to a meditation and yoga retreat only a few weeks after buying your 1st yoga DVD.  At the time this seemed like a logical thing to do.  But in doing so I learned a thing or two.

  • Meditation rocks!
  • You can be a much better person (Mom, etc.) if you learn to take a little time for yourself.
  • I love yoga!!!

In this short amount of time I realized something about myself.  I need me time to make myself sane, to make me bearable to be around.

So with this “new me” attitude I was ready to conquer the world again.  Or at least my hectic schedule and give a little more balance to my life and those around me.  This is where evolation yoga comes into play.

Evolation yoga in Tampa, FL had just opened.  They were within my “5 mile” radius that I am willing to travel to do anything and they were offering your 1st class free and a discount on your 1st month.  That was it – I was evolation yoga bound.

This was to be my first class with mirrors or heat or people with amazing bodies that were wearing very small amounts of clothing to show off those amazing bodies.  Did I mention the amazing bodies?  I being like a lot of first timers made sure to at least have on one coat of self-tanner and waterproof mascara.  Would hate to have black down around my nose from the sweating and heat.  I laid my mat out and sat nervously as I tried so desperately to fit in.  These 14 min. (yes, I timed it) that I sat there waiting for the class to begin felt like the 1st day of school….I was nervous, my stomach in knots, wondering if my outfit was okay, etc.  You get the idea.

The class began.  What in the world is this crazy breathing thing we are doing with our elbows going up and down?  I look silly.  Wait, we all look silly.  Holy S^&% not everyone has an amazing body.  That person over there looks like me.  I can’t grasp my leg because of the lotion I put on prior to class (never did that again).  Wipe off my sweat only to see my orange tan being wiped away.  Oh well, I am loving it.  This hurts but the pain feels awesome.  I hope to be able to get in that position one day.  And then we lay.  I was calm again.  I was hooked.  I had found my “home away from home”.  I went back 2 more times very aware of the others around me and then on my 4th trip I noticed not one person in the room but myself.  I knew the sequence (sequences are great for type A personalities).  The only thing I heard was my own breathing, my own heartbeat.  I had found myself again.  I slowly started to recognize the person in the mirror again.  I don’t mean this in a physical sense but in a mentally clarifying sense.  I was me again and so happy to be back.

Evolation yoga and the family at evolation yoga was the first place I was not judged.  I was not to be something other than who I was.  I was accepted with all of my flaws, quirks, and baggage.  I was more flexible yes, but I was me and it was okay.  I was me and it was appreciated.  I found a place that truly emphasized that this thing we call yoga is a life-long practice.  There isn’t perfection here, but only room for improvement not just in your postures and breathing but in yourself.  I learned to love myself again and to finally accept me for who I am.

I thank Target for those wonderful DVD’s.  I thank my husband for his patience in allowing me to find my way.  And lastly, I thank evolation yoga for being an open door, an open mind, and a place that embraces imperfections and allows a student to explore both their self and life all in a heated 90 minute class.