workout wednesday {yoga}

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I always felt a little too restless for yoga, which is exactly why I’ve fallen in love with it. If you haven’t tried it yet, you’re missing out on some incredible benefits for not only the body, but also the mind. I decided to check out Yoga Vida with a friend who swears by their tranquil atmosphere and supportive community.

I had barely made it to my 7:30pm class after an extremely busy day and I was convinced I’d have a huge amount of trouble slowing my mind dow, but the soothing atmosphere quickly enveloped me in a sea of calm without my even realizing it. Our instructor asked us to dedicate our practice (a common invitation which allows you to display your gratitude for someone or something throughout your class) to ourselves. At first I felt a bit selfish, but then I realized how important that kind of self-love really is. We often forget to congratulate ourselves or appreciate ourselves, so taking that hour for just me made me so appreciative.

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At first I had a bit of trouble controlling my breath; I’m told this is something that comes with practice. As the class went on, I found it become a bit easier, and therefore more enjoyable. I challenged myself to attempt new moves and surprisingly didn’t feel defeated if I couldn’t. In class, you’re encouraged to focus only on yourself, to not compare yourself to others, and do only do what you are comfortable with. And the mood of the room reflects that sentiment. Even if I am in someone’s sight line, I don’t feel judged or examined; I feel welcome and encouraged to listen to my body.

The end of class is the best. You just get to lay. You empty your mind (which I have a lot of trouble doing) and you allow yourself to exist only in that moment. I am pleasantly surprised at how beautifully this class improved my mood. I felt uplifted and supported by the community. Not to mention, I definitely felt the workout. I’m not so sure this will help anyone with weight loss, but it is an excellent supplement to an existing workout routine, and great for toning and maintenance.

Where do you yoga? Let us know your favorite spots on twitter @smbeautymark! and don’t forget to check out @yogavidanyc at one of their two locations in NYC.

images: via well + good.