Dither Me This is a publication that presents current, old, spontaneous, or nonsensical musings for the reader to use as a writing prompt, discuss with a friend, lover, or to read and move on. Authors may present questions, creative processes, or thoughtful means to end the week; and while you may still be left staring at the walls, it is not without a new thought mulling the paint into iterative transformation. Thus we send waves into the electronic ether and see what is returned – extending a baton to the world, only a little afraid to let go.
16 – OmWork
by Lo Jones
I practice yoga now for many reasons. It started, however, as purely physical; and like most of my relationships that claim to be only physical, I eventually caught feelings. There was no instant connection or infatuation, yet something slowly grew over time until I knew I couldn’t live my life without yoga. It made me feel things I had never felt before.
Let me digress: I’m a former collegiate athlete, which usually comes with a side of acute and chronic injuries and gray hair. Luckily, hair-dye solved the graying issue, but for my acute and chronic pain my athletic trainer and coaches recommended I work on my flexibility. Instead of practicing the art of holding in farts, I opted for the at-home DVD routine. And like many college kids, I sealed the deal with yoga in a dorm room.
Between a busy course load, practices, lifts, film sessions, and a social life, carving out time dedicated to simply stretch proved to be challenging. The act of stretching itself was also a challenging feat—the labored breathing, profound sweating, and grunts of pain validated this notion. Motivated by the promise of pain-free living, I endured. Yoga did not come naturally for me, but through this dedication, I actually started to feel flexible (for the first time in my life). The progress I experienced was intoxicating and my competitive nature wanted to be the best yogi that ever existed. However, life happened. I moved around a bit, found other activities I enjoyed such as distance running and hiking, and yoga was just not at the forefront of my physical interests [“WE WERE ON A BREAK!” –Ross from Friends].
It wasn’t until Fall of 2014 that I found CorePower Yoga (CPY). I fell in love with the physical aspects of the athletic-based movements, sculpt classes, and how I left the studio dripping with sweat. But there was more. CPY started to introduce me to the idea that yoga was obviously more than just a physical workout, as it also became a mental and spiritual workout. Setting meaningful, genuine, and personal intentions at the beginning of every class was stimulating. Learning to connect breath to movement helped me stay present and left me feeling spiritually full and satisfied.
Looking back, it’s easy to identify these things, but at the time, I was blinded by my drive to merely work out. I mean, I knew I liked it, but was I going to start incorporating these ideas and practices into my everyday life? Eh. Probably not. I wasn’t one of those hippy granola people. I’d like to think of it as being in the “talking” stage of a relationship. I liked yoga; but wasn’t totally invested quite yet…just keeping my options open, you know?
I continued to practice at different studios as I moved around the U.S., although no other studio spoke to me the way CorePower did. It set a bar high and other studios never measured up to how I needed yoga to fit me, my lifestyle; I loved every detail. So, in July of 2016, I moved to Salt Lake City and was stoked beyond belief that it had CPY. But there was still a part of me that jumped back into the routine of focusing mostly on the physical, feeling guilty if I didn’t do enough sculpt classes in a week. Over Christmas I decided that I would stop “training” for something. I would not sign up for the marathon I had planned to do and chose to wholeheartedly pursue activities that didn’t count reps or track time. Finally, the emphasis was not on the “results” but instead on the daily progress—not perfection—and the overall journey. And if I had a “bad” yoga class, it was okay. The Prime Minister of Malaysia wasn’t going to die.
After years of being constantly analyzed and coached towards perfection, I felt free to listen to my body, not compare myself to others, and be okay with trying new poses I hadn’t incorporated into my practice yet. This past year has been one of the most, if not THE most, transformative years of my life and I contribute a big part of that to diving holistically into my yoga practice. Yoga even helped me filter through the struggle I’d had with body image and self-acceptance from all those years as a trained athlete. After all, I didn’t “look” like or feel like a yogi. But the environment, community, and the practice itself made me realize that yoga is welcoming and accepting of everyone. Anyone can truly do it, and I am my own proof of that. I’ve become GRATEFUL for my body, its imperfections have become beautifully mine, and I’m more appreciative of what my body can do and what it can’t…yet *wink.
Yoga is a tapestry of many wonderfully woven threads of peace, empowerment, acceptance, inspiration, encouragement, freedom, trust, strength, and beauty. It has greatly impacted my physical, emotional, and spiritual world both on and off the mat. It helped transform me into a happier, less stressed, and more resilient person. I’m so glad yoga found me and that it has turned into a full-fledged, long-term relationship after all.
Lauren “Lo” Jones, MS, RD, CSSD, is a sports dietitian in Salt Lake City, Utah. When she’s not analyzing the dietary needs of athletes, she is out hiking, trail running, climbing, and furthering her yoga practice. She is currently in the Teacher Training program at her local CorePower Yoga studio.