Many of the people I know keep asking me “why yoga? what drove you to the practice?”. We always need a little push in life, a selling point. Sattva Yoga Shala, the yoga studio that I spent 9 months in, was conveniently located right around the corner of the block I lived on. For four years, I passed it, noticed it, grew interested, but never took the step. Summer of 2009, Yousef and I decided that we wanted to give yoga a try at Sattva Yoga Shala. Like many things I become interested in, I needed to know more about yoga before I went to my first class.
Lina visited Montreal that summer, and shared with me how yoga made her feel healthier and how it helped her through some hard times. We both went through very similar health complications, which she explained were dealt with when she started practicing yoga. To me, that was a good enough reason to at least try. And so, I went to my first Ashtanga yoga class in September as a smoker. 1 hour and 30 minutes later, one warrior pose after another, I left my very first yoga class happy. Most of all, I left my yoga class with the decision to quit smoking. (Can I just say that I haven’t smoked one cigarette ever since?!) To me, it was very simple: I wanted to become healthier in every possible way, I wanted to quit smoking (yes, I had the intention to quit before practicing yoga), I wanted to become stronger and more flexible, and I wanted a new challenge. For those who are not familiar with ashtanga yoga, here is a brief description that I read on a fellow yogini’s blog (visit her website here):
In Sanskrit, “Ashtanga Yoga” literally means “eight-limbed yoga.” The asana or physical posture component of the eight-limb path is a vigorous path of connecting your breath and movement within in a set series. Previous experience of yoga is recommended for this style, since an understanding of the basic postures is required. This is a fluid and dynamic class that will help develop strength and concentration, and make you sweat.
In other words, IT’S HARDCORE! And I didn’t have previous experience of yoga. So, if you are looking to sweat, lose weight, tone your muscles, and laugh at yourself for thinking yoga is just crossing your legs (sitting in full lotus) and chanting OM – you want to go to an Ashtanga yoga class. I guarantee you will be sore the next day, and I hope you will fall in love with the practice like I did, for whatever reason.
For those living in Dubai and are interested in Ashtanga yoga classes, I recommend Gems of Yoga (visit site here).