How I started yoga

I was about 18, living with 3 guys in a tiny apartment that was always messy dirty, and gross because, well, dudes (sorry). My at-the-time boyfriend had a friend and his girlfriend over one day. This chick was doing this stretch on the couch and her leg was by her face and I said, “what are you doing? How did you learn to stretch like that?” Her answer was yoga.

For the record, I’m not a huge fan of the word or concept to “stretch”, and I typically stay away from it, which is another story for another time, but that’s what it was then. Meaning, for me, I was drawn to yoga through the sight of a stretch. That sounds funny to me now, but it’s true, and I find that that’s how a looooot of people wind up in yoga classes.

So, I asked her about yoga and she gave me the information for the studio she was going to, I went onto the website and I booked a spot in a beginner series (that just happened to be starting shortly thereafter). I went to this class that met on like Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:30pm for three weeks (or something like that) and fell in love with the asana practice. Honestly, I just thought it was cool and fun. And, I could do it. I found that the postures and movements came me “easily” and I was told that I was “naturally good” at it. I would never have said it then, but that was probably the initial appeal to me. It was something I thought I was good at naturally.

DISCLAIMER: I’ve learned A LOT since my first experiences in yoga and realized that I was, in fact, NOT “naturally good” at yoga. Whatever the heck that means. (I actually do have an idea, but that is, yet, another story for another time.)

Anyway, that’s really, truly, and honestly how I started my yoga journey. It was as simple as, “I see you, I wanna try that. Oh, this is fun. I think I’ll keep this up!”

I now know that I wasn’t “good” at yoga. I was a little overly flexible and I was able to put myself into positions I had never tried before. I had always been athletic and I had done a few years of gymnastics as a kid. A lot of people say that that’s what contributed to my abilities in yoga, but I disagree. I believe that being a flexible and athletic person my whole life has contributed to the way I started and continue to carry out this practice. However, I am no longer really concerned with being flexible as I am with backing off and not going too far, which has been major work in my practice for me. Through teacher training, I learned how to tap into strength in yoga, which I had never done before, but now I was able to use my athletic background as I worked with easing up on going into my flexibility.

Was I fit going into yoga? Most people would say yes, but honestly, I say no. There were very few years where I wasn’t very active and that was between high school lacrosse and yoga in college. So, for me, after that few years of inactivity, I wasn’t in shape. But, I was thin, and getting in shape was not the goal. The goal was to “stretch”, that’s what brought me into a yoga studio. And then, the goal was to have fun.

I had been going through some weird, challenging stuff at the time of finding yoga. I was taking a semester from college, had gotten in a huge fight with my parents, moved out of their house angrily after being kicked out, and I was a stupid, know-it-all, 18 year-old “adult”. (Omg, okay…. Nobody tell my parents what you just read.)

The reason I tell you this little story is because, it wasn’t until starting to write this story that I realized I moved back in with my parents and started college again once I found yoga. Like, right away.

I guess I didn’t know it on a surface level at the time, but yoga was already starting to help me clear my head in ways I didn’t even understand.

More on that to come in my next blog (is that what we’re calling this?), “How yoga saved my life”.

If you made it to this part, thank you so much for reading and sticking with my babble through the end. I’m looking forward to sharing more of me and this journey with you.

So much love, from me to you!

Xoxo, Missy

Vincent Gulino