Empty Nest Year 1. You have successfully navigated that first month with the kids gone. Now what? If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am a goal setter. I work myself best when I set a goal or a challenge for myself. I need that for my motivation. Each year of my empty nest I have set a new goal to achieve before the school year is out and my kids are home, well mostly home. That first year I decided to improve on my yoga practice and expand what I choose to experience. I put myself out there, little by little.
When did I start doing yoga? I did yoga off and on, not consistently, for a few years ever since I broke my leg. Aria told me to join her class when I mentioned how tight everything was after coming out of the cast. Since I work at a gym, you would think it would be easy to get a work out in, it’s not. Work happens and you actually need to make a concerted effort to get to a class just like anyone else.
Then my boys went to college. I now had all this extra time on my hands and could make those extra classes work. After about 6 months I felt much more comfortable doing yoga. With the guidance and encouragement of my two instructors, Aria and Georgina, I started to try to really think about the yoga poses and take them to the next level within the class.
Stepping outside my comfort zone. After 8 months the time had come to step outside my comfort zone and head to local yoga events. I live about an hour north of Seattle, which is totally awesome as that means I have a big city to go to for yoga events and classes outside my gym. Seattle has a great yoga community and they were so supportive of newbies like me showing up. There was no judgement. If there was I was having too much fun to hear any. If you are looking for events in your area, check to see if there is a website for yoga events in your area. Seattle Yoga News is the site I use to keep up to date on the happenings in that area.
The first big event I attended was Soul Pose 2015. I joined some great ladies from my gym and attended. We had so much fun! Sunshine, yoga, Space Needle…what’s not to like?!? Attending this event and being embraced, encouraged and inspired by others made me want to challenge myself more and more. I have also done may more events and tried new classes throughout the Seattle area.
Have I gotten grief over what some people call my “Yoga Obsession”? Yep. “Haters Gonna Hate”, is what I say to that. This is MY yoga journey. I am not asking those around me to embrace yoga. It may not be their thing. That’s cool. It’s my thing. MY journey. I do not expect them to be at my current level, I do not expect everyone to like it. I will also not apologize for the fact that I love it. I have now done SUP Yoga, Sunset Yoga, Black Light Yoga and so many more fun and challenging yoga events.
Yoga Instructors are Unique. After taking yoga from many different instructors, I have realize that I am blessed. In addition to being supportive and encouraging, Aria and Georgina are amazing instructors. They truly care for the people they teach. They teach differently, but I learn something from both of them in every class. Never judge yoga based on a bad experience. Find an instructor whose style and technique fits with YOU. If you are lucky to have a lot of studios in your area, try them all until you find that fit. Then, and only then, decide if it is for you personally.
How is my yoga journey going?
Empty Nest Year 2. I challenged myself to join Instagram. More social media. More possibilities of negative. Nope. I have gotten even more support and encouragement from the yoga community out there. My personal Instagram (@krodriguez26) has a ton of yoga related connections, because that was me trying out new social media before becoming a blogger.
After joining Instagram I started doing Instagram yoga challenges. These were really fun and I had the possibilities of winning something. I also learned how to do new poses while doing the challenge.
I will add a disclaimer here… Do not do an Instagram yoga challenge without doing the proper warm-ups prior to a poses. Do not do a pose you are not ready for physically. Do your research and look for modifications and do not be afraid to not do a pose. The last thing you want to do when challenging yourself is to injure yourself.
When a challenge had a pose that I had not done before, I watched many You Tube videos on how to do that pose. I did a warm-up or waited until after a yoga class. I practiced and practiced. I also didn’t expect perfection from myself. I knew I wasn’t going to look like the picture in the challenge photo. In the end, I also consulted Aria and Georgina when I definitely struggled with a pose. They knew what level I was at, they knew my body and its limitations. They told me what I needed to do to get to a close approximation of the pose or how to modify it to fit me. That is the key. It is also why I love the instructors I am blessed to work with at the Stillaguamish Athletic Club. I have now taken time off of IG yoga challenges to play a little more.
Empty Nest Year 3. Blocks, straps and a yoga wheel. These are all great tools to help you, with instruction, to take your practice up the next notch. Do not be afraid to find out how to incorporate them in your practice. I do. Some days my body cannot bend or reach as far as a younger yogi. I am not afraid to admit that I use these tools in many of the classes I take. Again, it’s not about the perfect pose. It’s about your own body and your own practice.
“Listen to your Body” I can’t tell you how many times Aria and Georgina say this in class. Do not compare yourself to others in the room. Do not even compare yourself to yourself. Listen to what your body can do that day. If your instructor is not telling you that you are beautiful as you are, that you are strong, that you are amazing….get another instructor.
This is MY yoga journey. That’s what I will share with you now. This is the most important thing I can impart to you. If you want to thrive in this crazy world of negative, surround yourself with something positive. For you and for your body. That is what yoga has given me. This yoga community for which I am a part of gave me support and encouragement, they inspired me and they gave me the confidence to try not only yoga, but becoming a blogger.
Thank you. To my hubby and sons. They are increditibly supportive and totally ok with my random, “Can you take a photo of me in a yoga pose?”. I love them!
Questions or comments, don’t be afraid to ask! Message me through Instagram too!
PS I will let you know what is coming up in our area via Instagram (@beforeandaftermyemptynest and @krodriguez26). You’ll have to join me there!