Recently I turned 26, and this age has brought many more “adult” things in my life than  I was mentally prepared for.

A career with a 401K and benefits, my own insurance (wait, I can’t be on my parents anymore?) and actually getting up early enough to make an adequate breakfast, because a cup of coffee and a stale bagel will not suffice until lunch at 12:30, and being hangry in the work world is just not acceptable.

Part of being an adult is learning how to take care of yourself in all realms.

Are you making your own doctors appointments without your mom calling to remind you? Are you washing your face before you go to bed? Oh, and don’t forget your multivitamin and probiotic every morning. I felt like I had this ‘adult thing’ under control until I realized I was missing a huge part of what it means to be a 26 year old woman in 2018,:

“Yeah, but like what do you do to work out?”

Um? I walk down the aisles at the grocery store. Occasionally “swim” at the apartment pool with a bloody mary, maybe plan a hike, take a picture of the scenery, but never really take the hike. I have never been one who works out, I am actually one of the ones who doesn’t enjoy it. I am still waiting for the day I work out and don’t regret it. I’m not quite there yet…besides pizza ALWAYS sounds better than sore legs, just sayin.

However, I recently took a hot yoga class, (yes, it is exactly what it sounds like) at my gym. Although the workout was intense and sweaty, the knowledge I gained from this class was much more beneficial than the amount of calories I burned on my mat.

1. Not everyone has yoga, or life figured out.

Walking into the studio it was OBVIOUS this was my first rodeo.

I was in TJMAXX clearance workout clothes, while surrounded by women in full price Lulu Lemon leggings. I grabbed a used community yoga mat, while everyone had their own. AND I still had my shoes on. I guess yoga is done barefoot… is this common knowledge??

I sat on my yoga mat and looked around to see just what it was supposed to be doing. Stretching seemed like a safe decision. I used to be a dancer, so stretching I could handle. As the class began and the heat increased, I realized that the women I was intimidated by were just as lost in the yoga world as I was. They looked around when the instructor said, “Okay, now find yourself in child’s pose.” Uh, child’s what? Is this where it’s socially acceptable to cry? Because between the heat and the workout itself, I am pretty much on the verge of an emotional breakdown.

Watching everyone look around to figure out what was expected of them, made me realize that not everyone had this hot yoga thing figured out. While in downward dog, (who comes up with these names?) I realized the ones who seemed that they had it all together were just as lost and needed just as much guidance as I did. It was a humbling moment to realize how many minutes I wasted worrying about the exterior.

Life, (and yoga) isn’t about what you present on the outside. It is all about the experience you have with yourself and others.

In this life, as well is in a yoga class, there is always going to be someone better than you and someone worse than you. Learn from those who are better than you, and teach those who have more to learn.

2. When your mind and body are on the same page, amazing things can happen.

I had been preparing myself for this class for a whole week. Seven days. 168 hours. One whole hour in a room with 30 people at 99 degrees can be quite intimidating.

When Friday morning came around, I felt mentally prepared for the hell I was about to endure. A little pep talk before class started and I was good to go. I soon found out that my body was not in sync with my mind. As much as my mind was hungry for the exercise, my body was confused why it wasn’t still sleeping at 9 AM on my day off. There were many times during my first class that I had to just sit down and breathe, cause you know what? Yoga is HARD. I allowed myself a breather and continued to encourage my body that it CAN do that stretch and it will feel GOOD. And slowly but surely my body started flowing through the movements.

How true is this with everyday life? Our bodies don’t necessarily want to get up when our alarm rings, but our mind is a powerful tool. I have learned that our minds can be the catalyst to changing the world. A powerful mantra, or statement your mind can make, our bodies can and will follow.

3. Yoga reminded me just how out of shape I am in.

We all have to start somewhere, right? Well maybe start somewhere where you aren’t making it obvious just how out of shape you are. There was a time during my first hot yoga class where I slipped off my mat due to how wet it was from my own sweat… Let that sink in for a second.

I have heard many times before that life is meant to be lived as a journey; you don’t live it as if you are trying to get to a destination. And I believe that working out can be viewed as that too. No one is perfect at yoga, not even Rachel Brathen, and there is not an end goal or a “destination” to your fitness goals. Even once you hit your goal, I promise you will strive for the next big thing. So what if you are the only one practically naked in your yoga class due to your clothes being soaking wet? You can only improve from there.

4. We, as human beings, grow from doing hard things.

Think about the hardest thing you have ever faced. Was it a heartbreak, death, lost opportunity? Some of us have been fighting wars since we were born, while some of us have had pretty smooth sails.

But everyone has had a moment where taking one more step seemed impossible.

I have had many of those moments, and hot yoga made it on that list. However, nothing worth having comes easy, and nothing that comes easy is worth having. Yoga is dedication, hard work and meditative. It grows not only muscles on your body, but muscles in your mind and heart. Think about a person in your life that challenges you, pushes your limits and encourages you to be a stronger person. You wouldnt get rid of them right? Because they make you BETTER. Those people make us grow into the people we are meant to be, and we need them in our lives. Just like I need hot yoga to remind me the diamond that comes from the pressure.

5. Walking away from the lesson is a freeing experience.

As much as I appreciate hot yoga for all the calories I burn, I am more thankful for the moment when the cold towels are passed around because I know I survived a really hard hour. I made it. There is something magical about completing a task, feeling that surge of achievement and realizing that since you did it once, you can do it again. You received your undergraduate degree, let’s go for your masters. You worked three jobs to pay off that debt, now you can afford your dream home. You left the red flags in your first relationship, you’ll be able to recognize them if they show up again. You have looked hardship in the eye, and conquered it.

Once you complete one hard task, it’s only a matter of time before you do it again.

What's your reaction?