You know that time in your life when you find the one you want to spend the rest of your days with…your soulmate? And you start to lose sight of things you once cared about, like personal hygiene, fitness? When I fell in love with Seth I lost sight of some of my favorite hobbies: fitness, dancing and weight lifting. We were so enamored with each other and spent all our time together kissing, watching movies and playing video games. The pounds began to pack on and as I fell in love with this man, I quickly fell out of love with myself.
Years passed and it was getting close to the time for us to say our wedding vows. Every girl dreams of her fairytale wedding and I was no different. I had found the perfect Cinderella dress and I wanted to look stunning for our big day but it hit me really hard just how out of shape I was. I noticed a bulge in the back of my dress where it would barely zip and I felt as though I was spilling out of this beautiful gown. Seth and I decided to get our acts together and get in shape for our big day! So we signed up for hot yoga. We picked a time slot that we could make before we had to be at our day jobs. Five in the morning came so early and we were ready for it! We were prepared since we called the day before and asked what to bring. We were told the room would be heated to 106 degrees, to bring a lot of water to drink, a towel to catch the constant dripping sweat and a Yoga mat.
We walked into the studio, ready to achieve our goal body weight within the first class. The first step into that room took our breath away, literally. It was so hot in that room that I began to choke. A few sips of water and I was okay. We found a nice spot in the very back of the room. For two people who have never experienced Yoga we just didn’t want others to see how terrible we were at this “sport.” The instructor hopped onto the podium and began to teach. I could barely stand up, it was so hot. I had to keep pausing my practice to drink water. The instructor shouted into the microphone “Don’t break your pose for water!” Yikes! How was I going to get through this class without that demanded hydration!? The instructor continued on pose after pose, saying things like “harder, push harder. Go further. Keep going!”
At that point I felt faint and it was only about a third of the way through class. He called “standing leg raise. Don’t give up. Really push your body!” CLUNK. I fainted, hit my head on the brick wall behind me and fell unconscious on my mat. My poor fiance next to me panicked. After dragging me to the lobby, yelling a bit and offering me some coconut water the instructor recommended we head to the ER. By the time we pulled into the emergency room parking lot I began to projectile vomit all of the coconut water all over the spot next to us. I was sent home with pain meds for my neck and told I had a severe concussion so it was important to rest but not fall asleep. I was traumatized. Never again would I enter a yoga class, let alone a hot yoga studio.
Fast forward a few years and Seth and I are happily married and expecting our first child (turned out to be twins!). I had been working in a newer corporate job and the environment was toxic, full of drama and constant stress. I found myself back in the ER—this time experiencing a miscarriage. It became clear to me that I needed out of corporate America and fast. I was determined to start a family with this man I loved so much.
I found a low stress job at a Yoga studio working their front desk, checking in students and keeping the lobby tidy. The manager informed me that all staff members were to practice Yoga at the studio twice a week. I felt sure I would meet the same fate as years prior and end up with another injury. With a huge pep talk from my sweet manager and friends on staff I made it to my first class at this amazing studio. The instructor, studio and style of Yoga was so different than my first experience. I remember the instructor speaking in such a calm manner, saying things like “listen to your body. If you need to rest please come down to your mat.” It was the most welcoming place I had ever been.
I came back to class the next week. And again the next. Then, after time, I was practicing daily. I fell in love with the practice and consequently with my body. My shape didn’t matter to me—I knew I was strong and making improvements every day.
Yoga has changed my life. It has opened my eyes to a new type of self-care, to loving myself and loving others in a way I didn’t know was possible. I eventually had the most beautiful baby girl and my dream of becoming a mother was fulfilled. Now my sweet girl is watching me build my business as a Yoga teacher who gets to spread the news about body positivity and loving yourself, no matter where you are.
About the Author:
Sara Nicole Tynan teaches at studios in Burleson and Fort Worth. She is also available for Yoga parties, private sessions, events and retreats. For more information, please visit: saranicoleyogatx.com