Some people are naturally athletic and have great hand-eye coordination. Not me. I've never felt like a winner when it comes to my functional fitness.
Don't get me wrong, I was an active child. I loved running around playing imaginary games in the garden. But when it came to a game of tag I always would think it was - well - very boring.
At school, conventional team sports never quite gelled with me, nor I with them. I tried netball, soccer, cricket, and hockey. Safe to say, I was not the star player (although came the closest with Hockey to something I actually enjoyed).
"The problem was, I didn't like the feeling from exercise. I always felt stupid and slow"
The problem was, I didn't like the feeling from exercise. I always felt stupid and slow. I was picked last for every team. I would much prefer to have been inside, drawing, so rainy days were a bonus. I have fond memories of growing up in Karori and playing outside often, but when it comes to my school days, they were not at all glorious.
When I was about 16 my friend, whose family was quite into stuff that was cool, suggested we should go to a yoga class with her mother (still practicing hot yoga). We went to the first studio offering hot yoga in Wellington, not knowing what to expect. They had not long opened but already the yoga guru's were loyally lining up. My friend and I (me regretfully in long pants and a T-Shirt), stood in the room and went through the postures. By the end, we were sweating, giggling about a man in front of us who we nick-named 'noodle man' because he was so bendy, and left with a wonderful feeling of well-being. However, although we meant to follow up and do another class, we never did together.
"Surely I had sweated enough to fill a swimming pool?"
It was only after I had moved to Auckland after leaving school, met a former boyfriend, moved back to Wellington and was feeling very tired and heavy one year, maybe in 2009, that I decided to give hot yoga another try. This time, I decided I was going to take it seriously. My main motivation was to lose weight. I was appalled that after one class, I wasn't any thinner. Surely I had sweated enough to fill a swimming pool?
Over the next few years, I would attend yoga classes. I grew used to the hot room and came to crave it. I knew the postures and prided myself on enjoying something many loathed. I actually enjoyed the twisting, turning, flexing and movement, using my own body as resistance. It became more about the feeling than how I looked.
For me, I loved it because I wasn't competing against anyone else, just me. I was my own challenge, pushing myself harder each class. I also loved the philosophy of yoga, learning to just 'be' and switch off to whatever worries were troubling me. I went through a great deal of emotional growth in the hot room.
Whenever I needed to get well, I would go back to the mat. Now, at 27, I still turn to Hot Yoga to help me get on the straight and narrow. I've recently formed a love affair with the Wakefield Street studio of Hot Yoga New Zealand, in part due to its excellent teachers, its wide range of classes from Yin to Power Vinyasa and also it's proximity to my house. I also love their Featherston Street studio and I know they are about to open a Lower Hutt studio which is pretty cool.
"Nothing else gives me that 'alone time' I crave and also is perfect for my body to manage weight, stress, strains, and worries"
Since I've been practicing again, I've been feeling brighter and happier. I breathe more deeply. I know I should probably go more, but at the moment, three days a week is my goal. Yoga is always a loving place for me (I know, I know - #blessed) where I can be myself and also be a bit anonymous. Nothing else gives me that 'alone time' I crave and also is perfect for my body to manage weight, stress, strains, and worries.
When I come to Yoga, I know I can leave my troubles behind me - whether it's a photo that is refusing to behave on the blog, relationship stress, or just a general feeling of being unsettled. I know that when I come out, my head will be clearer and I will know what to do next. That is the power of yoga. It helps me know that I am ok - even if I am uncoordinated - exactly as I am: A Wellington girl just looking for a bit of piece of mind.