Waking up my Inner Yoga Girl

8am yoga. Yea you read that right. 8am yoga. I do 8am yoga now (who am I?). Not only do I do early morning yoga, my teacher is a priest.

One of the perks of going to a Catholic school is having a slew of Augustinian brothers to get to know. Some people get to know them through classes. Some just hear them say mass. Call me creative, but I’m getting acquainted with one through yoga. Father David is basically a celebrity. It’s hard to pinpoint his personality but it’s a little something like this: theatrical flare, mixed with a positive, spiritual, uplifting energy. He exudes contentment. Just by being around him, you can tell that he enjoys life in a simple, yet extremely meaningful way. I’ve been hearing people rave about his early morning yoga practice for 5 semesters and now, my schedule finally aligns with his.

That’s what motivated me to get out of bed at 7:30am Wednesday morning. I knew that going to yoga so early would be worth it. I dragged my friend Maria along and was pleasantly surprised to see the entire room PACKED with other yoga-zen-seekers. The second I stepped onto my mat, we were moving, breathing, internalizing. While some people were obviously experts, I was simply committed to keeping up.

Now, I’ve done yoga before, but I was a tad out of practice. Yoga is hard! Don’t let anyone tell you differently. You have to move with your breath and anything you do with your body has intentionality. You’re uniting mind, body, and spirit into a calming state of serenity and gratitude. But to do that, you have to concentrate. Hard. It seems a little counter intuitive, but somehow it just works. At first, you’re consciously performing each pose; each breath is thoughtfully drawn in and released. But then all of a sudden, you find a flow. Your body just moves and you’re so present. Instead cursing your inflexibility or wondering if anyone’s judging your form, your body seems to know what to do. Flow.

Besides Father David’s encouragement to find intentionality for the day and the physical relief of deeply stretching out my stress, I think Iย  most enjoyed the vibe of everyone else in that room. There we were, a bunch of girls (and a handful of guys!), with no make up on, in ratty t-shirts and yoga pants (which were actually worn for the appropriate activity) at 8am, doing yoga. We came to find meaning. We came to find joy. And I think we each left feeling a little bit lighter.

Needless to say, I’m going every week.

“This practice is for you. Make it yours.” (Father David)

Here’s to the coolest yoga instructor & working on my flexibility.

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