Yoga for fitness? Really? Seriously? Better yet, why? 

I would have never, EVER, EVER, and I mean EVER; in a million years thought you could do yoga for a workout regimen. And nor did I want to (in the past).

Calm your mind, Huh? What does that mean? How in the hell do you calm your mind when you are a full time mother, employee, taxi driver, maid, therapist, grocery shopper, grad student, runner, booger picker, toilet scrubber, retirement planner, banker, CEO of the household, etc. And why would I want to calm my mind when I can workout with some weights, burn some major calories, destroy my body,  starve myself and blow off some steam.

By the way what is yoga? Is this where you touch your toes and take a nap? Who has time for toe touching and naps? You saw all the stuff I have to get done. I DO NOT have time for naps and my mind will not calm down because I am freaking out. The thought of taking a nap freaks me out because I have no time. Oh geez, now I am all upset. Maybe I do need yoga.

Does any of the above sound familiar? When I was first exposed to the word yoga as a "fit" adult, these are the thoughts that spewed through my head. Fitness has a variety of definitions and is personal to each individual. Fitness to the 'past' me, was being able to workout intensely and pushing my body to extreme limits. Pain, lots of pain. I also like muscles. Girl muscles are really fun. Fitness to me was being as lean as I could be with awesome ripped muscles. Essentially it was all about the exterior. This makes me sad to remember back on those days. I had a six pack! Do you care? Do you know how many other people cared? ZERO!!!!! That six pack changed the world how? Made me a better person, how? Lets talk about my ego for one second. I was having competitions with people who had no idea they were competing with me. Weird, I know! I hate that person. I am glad I buried her. It was not to long ago either. I am not talking about my youth. This was only 3 years ago.

Three years ago I accidentally drank the yoga Kool-Aid. I would have never done this on purpose but a friend of mine wanted me to train her and she would only do yoga. Are you kidding me? BAHHHAAHAHAHAHA! I DO NOT DO YOGA! But her plea for help was so sincere and inspiring. I knew I had to accommodate her because she was sick. I made it clear at the time, I was not yoga certified, nor do I know anything about yoga. I spent some time researching and educating myself on yoga to see if I could help. It was just as boring as I thought it would be in the beginning. I threw some sequences together and three days a week we would meet in her living room going through the poses. She was pretty entertaining though and we laughed a ton. I would do the poses with her and I could feel my muscles working so that was pretty cool too. But it wasn't until I started to see her getting stronger, healthier, more self-confident and happier did I realize that yoga is the "real deal". At the same time I thought, it was good for her but yoga would never work for me. I like to sweat and act like a crazy woman in the gym. Or could it work for me?

This is when my life had completely changed. After learning about proper alignment, form, technique, and the anatomy I was blessed with a platform to develop a yoga style that works for personalities like mine. Anytime Fitness allowed me to lead yoga classes at their fitness center for 2+ years. The next two years I ditched the weights and worked on my yoga practice. I developed a hot yoga class that was intense, rewarding and fun. I became leaner, more toned, stronger and in the best shape of my life. Weird I know, you probably do not believe it. I was a naysayer too but you just need to try it. The yoga was a hardcore workout but what happened next really freaked me out. I found value in life and I was able to sort through all the garbage and identify what is import. I was able to build my relationship with Jesus and ask for forgiveness of my sins and forgive myself. I was able to let go of all the material items, ego and all the junk that just does not matter. I am now able to love everyone unconditionally and have become passionate about introducing as many people to the life changing practice of yoga. I opened my ears during my yoga practice and listened to my Heavenly Father and felt him wrap his arms around me with the truest form of love. I just want to spread his love and encourage you to open your ears too. He loves you so much. That is what is most important.

Yoga for fitness? Yes. There is no better fitness than a total body fitness that includes your mind, body and soul.  

Kim Damm

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