By Avery Owens |

When I was five years old, my parents signed me up for a soccer team. In my yellow jersey with a matching bow, I would walk around and pick flowers in the middle of a game. Not much has changed since then.

From middle school to high school, I ran cross-country. A win for me was not coming in last place, just ahead of the golf cart acting as the caboose. 

I have tried just about every sport. From dance to volleyball, I have given every recreational sport a try. For some reason, nothing has ever been “my thing.”

It has taken me 21 years to finally find something I’m good at (at least I think I am) and enjoy. Call it a sport or not, my newly discovered passion is yoga.

A couple weeks ago, my local yoga studio advertised a deal that I couldn’t pass upunlimited yoga classes for a month for only $20. I learned about the deal after complaining to my roommate just the day before that I needed to get in shape. It seemed like the perfect opportunity!

I bought my $20 membership on a Thursday night and scheduled my first class for the next morning. Since then, I have attended a class every weekday; so I guess you could say I’m hooked!

I am still dipping my toe in the yoga pond and trying to figure out what classes work best for me. My current favorites are hot yoga and a relaxation class. 

What I like about yoga is that it allows everyone to move at their own pace. If I am sore from a previous class, the instructor will provide alternative poses to give me a better stretch. On the flip side, if I desire a good workout, I can accommodate my practice to get a better exercise. 

I am slowly becoming a yogi. I use my time in yoga to challenge my body and groom my mind. It is the only time I give to myself during the week, and I make the most of it. 

At the end of every class, my favorite instructor tells us to sit in easy pose (in other words, criss-cross applesauce) with prayer hands. We then close our eyes and repeat after her“Respect the sweat. Respect the process. Respect the practice. Respect the journey.”

Yoga is just thatit is a journey. Some days I can hold a pose I couldn’t hold the day before. Some days I become so relaxed that I can fall asleep, and other days I am counting down the minutes until the class is over. It is whatever I make it, which is why I love it. 

I may not be a baller or a marathon runner, but I have finally found my niche in the athletic world. Yoga is an inclusive activity, and everyone at my studio has welcomed me into the community with open arms. It is not competitive and there is no pressure to be the best. It is all about being present. 

I am grateful to have finally found “my thing,” even if it took me so long.