RED Hearts: Find a Yoga Class!

VirabhadrasanaI_248RED Hearts are guest posts on I Heart Daily from the authors of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today.

Today’s RED Hearts post is from RED author Zulay Regalado, 24, in Miami, who wants you to channel your inner peaceful warrior:

Sometimes summer vacation just doesn’t feel like summer vacation. In fact, the older I get, the more it’s turned into the busiest, most stressful time of the year, balancing a loaded work (and in my case, school) schedule, with the added irritant of heat and the call of book or beach that must be ignored.

I realized this when I found myself staring at my bedroom ceiling after finals, only days into summer and already fried with a thinning patience and little-to-no time for extracurricular cool-downs, debating what to do with my small slice of freedom. A friend suggested I attend a yoga class to release my “stress monsters,” an idea (and term) that made me chuckle. For starters, I refused to be That Girl -- you know the one -- who struts along the streets of Miami, all yoga mat and matching spandex and smugness.

However, my monsters were itching to get out, so I was willing to try anything.

I went into my first class with few expectations, but was immediately greeted warmly by other yogis (OK, there, I said it). We practiced various stretching and stamina-building techniques in a Warrior Pose (pictured above). Some positions felt a little funny at first, but my body was actually enjoying the movement. Who knew I was flexible enough to touch my toes? Ninety minutes later, I had volunteered to try my first handstand. My equilibrium was gasping in shock at that one, but there’s nothing like turning upside-down -- inversions, as the yogis say -- to gain a fresh perspective on the world. We cooled down to the sounds of my favorite Coldplay and Bon Iver songs, setting a very calming mood. Best of all, the instructor was accommodating to us newbies, and one fellow beginner even introduced me to a free (!!!) Saturday class in downtown Miami, overlooking the bay. So, yeah, that sold me.

Even through my crazy schedule, I’ve made it a point to attend class at least twice a week. To date, I have not had a moment of contact with spandex, and my monsters now enjoy a happy summer sleep in Shavasana. Namaste!

Interested in trying yoga but don’t know where to start? Check out this site to find a class near you.

RED Hearts guest poster Zulay Regalado is an author of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today, which is out in paperback.