Author: Allan Pitre – Community Member & PYC City Centre Yogi
I wanted to try yoga for a long time, but was always too afraid. Living with depression and anxiety for most of my life has been limiting, especially when it comes to unfamiliar social settings. I usually just avoid these situations entirely. My timid nature has kept me from trying many things. I tend to live in my own head, to overanalyze things, and can be extremely self-critical. Sometimes I feel like I’m in an abusive relationship with myself…
Initially, One of the reasons yoga intrigued me was that I had heard it was beneficial in healing the body from injuries. I have a bad back and problems with my hips, knees, and shoulders; being that I’m extremely accident prone and clumsy, many of these are self-inflicted. I frequently get low back spasms and my body is generally very tense and sore, and feels way older than 40 years should.
I’ve struggled with my weight since my teens, there was definitely a correlation between my weight and worst bouts of depression. I’ve dropped 115 lbs. through consistent exercise, a strict ketogenic diet, and intermittent fasting. Losing weight has improved the way I feel emotionally and physically, but years of additional weight has compounded my injuries. Because of these injuries, some of the workouts I used to enjoy are no longer an option.
Last winter, I reduced exercising and picked up some bad diet habits. I gained weight, and started to get a bit down on myself. Before things got worse, I recommitted to my diet and exercise regimen. My wife and I decided to try yoga and support each other through the experience since we were both apprehensive. I don’t know that I would have worked up the courage to start alone, and I’m grateful for her support because the past 5-1⁄2 months have been transformative.
I was so nervous for my first class at PYC City Centre. I did not know what to expect. I was concerned about being judged because of my body, because I didn’t know the sequences, or when I couldn’t hold a pose. Instead, I found a supportive community of amazing people who have literally bent over backwards (pun intended) to make me feel welcome and accepted, and without even having an inkling of how intimidated I was those first few weeks.
I have become completely enamoured with yoga. It’s amongst the most physically demanding activities I have done, yet I feel incredible after. I actually look forward to my next time on the mat. I won’t pretend that yoga has fixed my body, but it has absolutely made a difference. Every day I feel stronger and continue to surprise myself with what I can do. I recently completed a 21 day challenge and it was one of the proudest accomplishments I can recall in recent years. The best part of the experience has been the community and feeling like I belong here.
There have been many encouraging and inspirational words spoken by the awesome team of instructors at PYC City Centre, but for me, the ones that most resonated are “…the hardest part of your practice was showing up on your mat, and you already did that!”. I couldn’t agree more. Just show up for practice and amazing things will happen!