What I Learned From My First Yoga Class

What I Learned From My First Yoga Class

My friends, the deed has been done. Last night, I moseyed over to a yoga studio and took part in my very first yoga class. I’ve watched and listened as yoga has climbed from That Thing That Hippies Do to So Mainstream There’s Even a Yoga Barbie, but hadn’t yet brought myself to actually try it out. I even bought a pack of classes at the beginning of the year, hoping to knock out one of my yearly goals, but let it expire without ever lifting a finger. After a recent conversation with some yogi friends and a spark of inspiration that had been growing inside me, I decided to check it out for myself. Here’s what I discovered.

(Oh, and that picture up there? I snuck into the locker room bathroom and snapped a sweaty post-class selfie for your enjoyment. You’re welcome. I should also mention that one of the poses sounded like “burrito,” which of course made me crave Mexican food, so I got a late dinner from Del Taco as soon as I left. It felt a little sacrilegious, but my teacher told us during class that we should “do what feels right.” So, I was obviously following his orders, na mean?)

You will sweat your booty off.

Dudes. Yoga is totally a work-out. I didn’t really consider the expectations I had for yoga, but falling over because I couldn’t hold a pose as long as everyone else was definitely not one of them (Note: That totally happened. Several times!). I can certainly see how yoga can tone your body. If you happen to be like me and exercise about once a year, then it might be difficult for you, too…but don’t let that stop you! No one made me feel like an outsider if I was in the wrong pose or couldn’t hold it long enough. The environment felt very welcoming.

Girls. Girls everywhere.

This isn’t something I really thought about until I walked into the waiting room and was surrounded by 20 other women waiting to be let into the classroom. It felt like I was back in my sorority days. It made me a little nervous at first, since I’m not usually in an all-female environment, but the nerves quickly faded and the class was so interesting that I don’t know if I would’ve noticed an elephant practicing next to me, let alone another chick.

It is even more spiritually-focused than I expected.

I knew that yoga was a mental game as much as a physical one, which is a large reason why I wanted to try it. But I wasn’t expecting to end class laying in Savasana in a dark room while listening to instrumentals. Not saying I didn’t enjoy it (quite the opposite!), but it was surprising. I also noticed that my teacher would give spiritual anecdotes and advice almost as much as he’d describe the poses we should be hitting. I thought it was pretty cool, and very much what I was looking for.

Let everything have its moment.

Going off of the spiritually-focused method of yoga, the teacher would often inject some wisdom or thoughts while we were flexing our bodies. One thing that he said was particularly meaningful to me. He told us to think of things we wanted to let go of or that are no longer serving us and to “let them have their moment” before releasing them from our present. I appreciated his advice to acknowledge the past and allow it to live before letting it go, rather than shoving it somewhere in our mind where it will eventually resurface.

You’re exactly where you need to be.

One of the things I loved most about the class was that it was very focused on the fact that “you are exactly where you need to be.” So, if you can’t hit the pose he’s teaching or you have to do an easier version, it’s all good. You’ll make it happen when you’re ready. I feel like I’m used to fitness regimes where there is a right or wrong way, but our teacher emphasized to just “do what feels good.” Isn’t that neat?

I enjoyed my first class so much that I’m going again tonight! I am doing Core Power Yoga’s free week trial, which is nice if you’re new to yoga since you can take as many classes as you want for a whole week. Honestly, I think it took me so many months to get to a yoga class because I was both lazy and didn’t know what to expect. What do I wear? How do I pick a mat? What if I have no idea what a Downward-Facing Dog is? If you’re nervous, I encourage you to just check it out. It was a lot more comfortable than I expected, which is surely saying something since Exercise and I have a very lovehate-hate relationship. What have you got to lose?

What are your thoughts on yoga? Would you ever try it?


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Weekly Wishes #75 (Personal Goal Setting Linkup)

Weekly Wishes

Welcome to Weekly Wishes, a personal goal setting community where you can share your upcoming dreams and connect with other goal-setters. I’d love for you to join us and add a link to your own goal-oriented blog post! It’s a great way to make new friends from around the world and gain some motivation to achieve your weekly aspirations.

Happy Monday! I can’t believe the weekend is over. It flew by! I spent a lot of time with friends this weekend, which is something I don’t get to do enough, but it was really great to catch up over sushi, dance it out at Rüfüs Du Sol/Hermitude, and look at other people’s awkward memories at a flea market. I also went to a cute pumpkin patch with Paul to get into the Fall spirit.  All in all, it was a great weekend! How was your week?

Pumpkin Patch

Last Week’s Personal Goals

  1. Be more present in blogging. Yes and no. I posted six times last week, which is great, but I wasn’t as present on social media as I’d hoped to be. I’ve been having some of the busiest work weeks I’ve ever had, so it’s hard to find a balance.
  2. Get organized with the new contributors. No. T_T haha. There are still a few things I want to finish before moving forward (contract, schedule, etc) and with my busy work weeks it’s been hard to do that. This week for sure!
  3. Get rid of things. Wow, totally forgot about this one!

This Week’s Personal Goals

  1. Work on adding new contributors. Pretty much just transferring last week’s goal to this week!
  2. Put together my dresser. I got a little dresser from IKEA, so you know how that goes.
  3. Start planning for Portland! We leave in less than two weeks. I can’t wait!

What are your personal goals this week?

 WEEKLY WISHES LINKUP RULES

1. Share your posts about your goals, challenges, or wishes for the week, month, year, decade, whatever! Entries completely unrelated to the theme or linked to your homepage will be deleted. 

2. Link back to this site so others can get their goal-setting on, too! You can use the button below if you’d like!

The Nectar Collective
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3. You can link up your posts on any day of the week, but the most common day to do so is Monday.

4. THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE OF ALL! You MUST visit the person’s blog who linked up directly before you and leave them a motivating comment. This is such an important part of this linkup! We are each here to encourage each other and build a community of determined women and friends. :) If you do not do this, your post will be deleted from the link-up.


p.s. Next week I’ll be sharing my monthly goals for November! Join me. :)


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What I’ve Learned After One Year of Running My Own Business

What I've Learned After One Year of Running My Own Business

Happy Friiiiiday! I have some exciting news…today is my birthday! Well, not my birthday exactly, but my business’s. See, one year ago today, I was waking up in a tiny Tokyo apartment with both the crushing and exciting realization that I was now unemployed a self-employed entrepreneur. The day before was spent cleaning out my desk at the Japanese high school where I’d been a teacher and saying my goodbyes to the students, business casual slacks, and train-ride commute. I’d made the decision to quit my job because I knew I enjoyed blogging and graphic design more than anything else I’d ever done, and I wondered, “Can I actually make a living from this?” Luckily, the answer was “Yes.

The past 365 days have taught me a whole freakin’ lot, and today I’m here to share what I’ve learned — the good, the bad, the everything.

1. It feels more natural. When I worked for other people, I had to wait to eat, even if I was hungry. A ten-minute pick-me-up nap would have been weird, even if it would have helped me do my job better thereafter. Now, I feel much more in touch with what my body and mind need to keep me going. Instead of waiting for a set time to do things, I do them when it feels right.

2. Small successes feel absolutely incredible. When I worked for other people, achievements in our business were still exciting, but they never really felt like my successes — they were the company’s, the school’s, or someone else’s. Now, every step forward motivates me, because I know what it took me to achieve. It just feels good to know that I earn everything I receive. It’s kind of surreal for me to think about sometimes. I feel more in control of my life than ever before.

3. For someone who sets her own schedule, taking vacations is actually harder than it was when I worked for someone else. When I was a teacher, I had a specific amount of vacation days every year. On those vacations, I didn’t have to think about work AT ALL. Now that I’m running each aspect of my business, not checking my email or social media for a week would be close to impossible. I’m still able to get away sometimes (usually with lots of pre-planning), but I can’t ever really detach myself from my business completely.

4. The only ceiling is your work ethic. Instead of working my way up the food chain at a corporate job, I’ve realized that when running your own business, the only food chain is how hard you choose to work. If you hustle the crap out of your business (and use a little know-how), I am 99% confident that you will succeed.

5. You will have 900 ideas. Pick one. Maybe two. If you start a small business with some success, I feel like your mind shifts. It’s like a little alarm telling you that you did something you once thought impossible, and now nothing really seems very impossible. It’s rad and fun and liberating, but with it, comes the fact that you will now have 5 million not-so-impossible ideas that you totally, definitely, want to do. Picking one or two to pursue can be very difficult, but if you choose carefully, can also be very, very awesome.

6. People may not understand, but that’s ok. Friends and family may not always get it, and I’ve had people assume I was poor or jobless just because my job is a little different from the norm. This can be frustrating, especially when you’re busting your butt and seeing great results. But I’ll tell you something: you don’t have to get a job that other people understand in order to be happy or successful. And if it’s important to you, find ways to share what you do in a way that people get. Usually, they want to understand what you do and they want to support you, they just don’t know how.

7. You have to (HAVE TO) reach out to people. Honestly, working from home and by myself can get a little lonely. I think I’m pretty good at dealing with it because I enjoy alone time, but even I go a little stir crazy if I don’t get out and see people enough. I also find it so soul-enriching to connect with other people who run their own businesses or have similar careers. Sometimes, I really suck at reaching out to people, but it’s something I’ve been trying a lot harder to work on.

8. It’s amazing what a shower and a little make-up can do. Sometimes I work in my PJs, but I feel so much better when I shower and put a little effort into getting ready. I think that how you look can have a direct impact on how you feel and feeling good in your business is important.

9. If you’re thinking about it, DO ITTTTT. I’m a firm believer that things always work out. Even if they don’t at first, THEY WILL. You just have to keep fighting through. If you have an idea and a skill that you’re interested in pursuing, then you can more than make it work. The biggest failure of most small businesses is that they were never started in the first place. If you have an idea, try it out! I’ll be here, rooting for you.

Got any questions about running your own small business? Have some stellar lessons you’ve learned? Share ‘em in the comments!

p.s. 20 Ten-minute tips for your blog or business + What I learned after 30 days of self-employment 


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