In this blogpost I am going to share how I started with Yoga and Pilates. I’ll also share my personal experience with these two movement forms and how they changed me as a person.
Before I share how I started with Yoga and Pilates, I would like to share with you that I never was a big fan of working out or doing sports. I would rather go out, or stay at home to sit in front of the TV and stuff my face with unhealthy, processed food. At that point I wasn’t really aware of my body image and didn’t pay attention to my lifestyle.
Fortunately all of this changed when I started to feel super insecure about the way I looked, mostly because people were calling me ugly names and because of the “perfect body image” on Social Media. I hated myself for being chubby and wanted to become skinny and muscular like those fit girls on Facebook and Instagram.
I got super focussed on losing weight and became obsessed with tracking my calorie intake. This resulted in a very unhealthy relationship with working out and eating (what I thought was) healthy. With other words: I didn’t know that finding a good balance was the key to living a healthy lifestyle. So I tracked every bite I took and would punish myself for getting over my daily KCAL intake by standing on the Crosstrainer for 3 hours straight (true story!!). I would also put my finger in my throat after easting greasy or sugary food, because the feeling of guilt took over.
Then I changed my diet and told myself I wasn’t allowed to eat many different kinds of food. I didn’t touch a slice of pizza or French fries for a loooong time. Mr. Boyfriend and our friends would order a pizza, whilst I was eating a boring salad, wishing I was also eating pizza. My friends were calling me crazy for being super extreme with my diet and lifestyle, because they saw the red flags where I didn’t and tried to make me aware of them.
Because of eating mostly salads, soups, crackers and yoghurt, I would feel low on energy like ALL THE TIME! I didn’t feel like working out, but decided to push my body anyways. I had and would lose weight! And my mood wasn’t a bliss either. I had many mood swings and emotional meltdowns because of a bad combination of everything.
2016 was a life changing year for me. It’s the year where I found a sports that I like doing, where decided to reset my fit journey, and where I found a way to live a balanced lifestyle. It was also the year where I took time to take care of my mental- and emotional well-being as I was still recovering from a depression and burn-out at that point. I am actually glad I went through a dark period as it made me realize that I wasn’t living a good lifestyle and that I wasn’t taking care of my health at all.
For me 2016 is the official beginning of how I started with Yoga and Pilates.
I became interested about the world of Yoga somewhere in October 2014. I couldn’t afford going to live classes so had to search for an alternative online. That’s how I discovered the world of Yoga on YouTube back in 2015. I found a teacher that I liked and followed along with her online videos. I wasn’t practicing on a regular base like I am doing now, but did enjoy every moment spent on the Yogamat.
Unfortunately I wanted to move way too quickly through my Yoga journey, which is how I forced my body multiple times. I wanted to be able to perform the same positions like those who were practicing Yoga for many many years. What’s that saying again? Oh yes: “Walk before you can run.”.
So thankfully 2016 happened, which made me decide to reset my journey back to zero and to restart as a Beginning Yogi. And honestly? This was the best decision ever, because that is how I felt in love with Yoga and its many health benefits!
The more I stood on my mat, the more I could experience the effects on my body and mind. I found a way to disconnect from the daily chaos and to connect with my inner self. My mind had a chance to pauze and I could allow myself to let go of negative emotions and feelings.
The mindfulness part made me curious about Meditation and how it would affect my mental health. If you’d like to know more about my experience with mediation, click here to read.
After doing fitness for a while, I became bored with doing the same exercises over and over again. I didn’t enjoy the movements, hated doing cardio (and yet I stood 3 hours on a Crosstrainer 😅) and couldn’t even do one single push-up. I did lose weight, but my body looked fluffy and not as fit as I wanted it to be.
I decided to look for a sports that I would enjoy doing without wanting to give up soon. So when I entered the world of Yoga on YouTube, I searched for fitness channels that shared fun workout videos. That’s how I tried out several dance workouts, Aerobics and Pilates. The dance- and aerobic workouts were nice, but I had more fun with Pilates. I noticed progress in my body and wasn’t’t focussing on losing weight anymore. My focus had shifted towards growing in my journey by becoming stronger and fitter. And the funny part about this, once I stopped focussing on the number of the scale, I lost weight more easily.
Pilates is the only kind of sports that I am really enjoying even after all these years. I love how every workout challenges my body and makes me feel good!
“Do something you enjoy doing and the rest will follow.”
So now you know how I started with Yoga and Pilates, and how it affected my mental- and physical health.
I am forever grateful that Yoga and Pilates came into my life and changed me for the good. They did not only change me physically or mentally, but I also became a better person because of it. Being more aware of my mental health allowed me to face my darkest struggles and to shift my mindset from very negative to more positive. I became kinder to the people in my environment and with myself. I’ve learned to be more patient with life and to accept the things I cannot change (that’s not always easy of course!). I’ve also learned to be more open about my emotions and struggles, and to talk whenever something lies on my chest.
And the most important part of it all: I’ve found peace with my past and will never again allow feelings from the past to take over my thoughts or current life!
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