Wells: Learning to love yoga


Editor-in-Chief Annelise Wells writes about her experience with yoga and encourages others to give it a try. 

Annelise Wells

Before I took my first yoga class through Iowa State Recreation Services, I was really nervous. 

I had so many questions in my head: “Am I flexible enough for this?” “Is anyone else here a beginner?” “What do any of the poses look like?”

I grabbed my mat and a block to help me out, I didn’t know what the point of the block really was, but just grabbed one because it seemed like the right thing to do. 

As soon as the student instructor started our practice, all of my concerns about not being “good enough” or “fit enough” for yoga melted away. The beginner class was easily guided and I found that if I just focused on my breathing, everything seemed to flow more naturally.

The biggest thing I took away from my first class was how individual yoga is, even in a group setting. Different variations of the same pose were given as options depending on your comfort level, and there were even parts of the class where we were encouraged to stretch and go at our own pace. 

Everyone was so focused on themselves, as yoga is a very intrinsic activity, that no one was worrying about if my foot was straight enough or if I took a break during the middle of a downward dog. 

I continued to attend both early morning and night classes through Iowa State Recreation Services, mainly with friends but also by myself. I realized that throughout those 45 minutes or so, my phone was tucked away in a cubby and I was able to focus on exactly what I was doing: taking care of my body.

Throughout different classes, a lot of instructors encourage everyone to set their own intention for that session’s practice. It’s an idea that you want to come back to throughout your time working on yourself and your body.

I loved this idea and honestly, it is the only time I am able now to block everything else out. My go-to intention is to live in the moment, and throughout that intention I have learned to focus on my body and feeling my muscles stretch and move as I do.

Focusing on my body has made me so thankful for all that it does for me. Sometimes we take for granted all the things our body allows us to do, so yoga allows me to be thankful for the opportunities it gives me.

I’ve discovered that yoga is for any level, poses can be changed or modified depending on what you’re looking for or how your body is feeling. When you listen to your body, you will be amazed and how much you can learn about what you need for it. 

Iowa State Recreation Services are livestreaming their yoga classes on their Instagram to encourage social distancing, but I also have started to explore the countless online, free resources and videos to practice yoga with. It’s easy to find a length of video you like best and if you aren’t feeling it, you can just pause or change it. 

I’ve learned to love yoga because I realized it’s not about looking good while barely working out, it’s truly a great way to work on my body, learn more about myself and better my well-being.

I got rid of all the previous notions I had going in about yoga and found out that most of classes are half or so male and not everyone was dressed in expensive, fancy workout gear. I felt so welcomed and like everyone was there for their own reasons.

I highly encourage you to try an online class or video during this quarantine. There’s even less pressure if you’re by yourself, and it’s great to keep your body active while being safe. You can also practice outside if the weather is nice and you are social distancing correctly. Yoga is all about you, so I can’t recommend it enough for learning about yourself.

The hardest part is just getting on your mat, grass, carpet or floor and starting. I promise.