People come to yoga for a variety of reasons. Some look to ease physical pain, others accompany a friend, and many are simply curious. Whatever sparks the initial interest, those who commit to a regular practice undergo profound changes that answer any questions about yoga’s benefits. What was once dismissed as a hippie pastime is now recognized as a powerful tool for improving physical and mental well-being. Whether you seek relief or transformation, yoga can help alleviate and even reverse countless causes of suffering.
There is nothing more fulfilling and encouraging than hearing from a real-life yogi about what brought them to the mat, and how it has changed their lives. While scrolling through the internet about yoga, we often come across pictures of beautiful people in exotic locations doing handstands and the splits at the same time and we think “No way, I could never do that.” Based on this unrealistic perception, we come to the conclusion that yoga is not for us.
The reality is that most of us are doing yoga in our bedroom in a sports bra, and have been trying (with the most ridiculously slow progress) to do the splits for years. When we bring our practice to class, we realize that we are not alone. We learn that the majority of yogis are just like us – on an individual journey of self-discovery, using yoga as a means to connect with the essence of life and enjoy it to the fullest.
At Inspiring Actions, we take pride in our community of yogis who share a passion not just for yoga but for the way it has transformed their lives. People who have experienced the healing power of yoga are driven to bring it to others. It’s like they have found an answer to that burning question of “how can I help myself?“. Our instructors and students are committed to this shared mission of self-discovery through yoga. Join our community and discover the benefits of yoga for yourself!
Grace is a member of our Inspiring Actions community. Here she shares with us her story of taking up yoga, and how it impacted her life. Read on to hear from a real-life yogi!
Grace started doing yoga during pregnancy, an unconventional time to start practicing! But at a time when many women may shy away from physical activity, Grace chose to embrace the transformative power of yoga. Looking for a safe way to stay active, she started taking prenatal classes during her second trimester. Like many, Grace had hesitations about trying yoga, especially during pregnancy, but she went to her first class with an open mind.
“I had consistently seen advertisements or people posting in community groups on Facebook about Inspiring Actions. I started following Inspiring Actions on Facebook, and it wasn’t until I became pregnant that I mustered up the energy/courage to attend a class. In all honesty, I hated yoga. I always thought that yoga was for those that were much more flexible or stretchy or those that had better balance than I, so I was always a bit more timid about attending a class with these perceptions because in my mind I didn’t think I fit those categories of flexible/stretchy/amazing balancer, especially since by the time I did attend my first class I was in my second trimester and didn’t particularly feel like myself.”
“When I did attend classes I chose to attend the prenatal classes religiously before branching out to attending a class almost every day – since yoga was something that I had been told would be good during pregnancy. Again, what did I have to lose – I didn’t know any better since I have always not been a fan and most things during my pregnancy I was told weren’t the best choices, so yoga was one that checked all the boxes for safety, building muscle/strengthening muscles, low impact, in a safe environment, with people around in case I fell over or something happened, and it provided many modifications.”
After giving birth, Grace found that having a baby drastically changes your ability to keep a consistent routine. Although she was attending classes regularly during pregnancy, she found it difficult to get away once baby was born. The responsibilities of new parenthood plus the emotional struggle of being away from a new baby made attending in-person classes more of a challenge. Luckily, many yoga studios (including Inspiring Actions!) offer virtual classes for yogis, making it possible to attend a class without leaving home. Grace started taking advantage of this option with virtual classes at Inspiring Actions, and found that she could still make yoga a regular part of her life even with a brand new baby.
“I attended a yoga class almost every day during my pregnancy. Postpartum has been a different story. I have all the intentions of attending in person classes, but it is much harder to delegate and be away from my 9 month old daughter even for a short period of time. I am, however, very thankful to the Inspiring Actions community for having the option of virtual classes, and the ability to go back and rewatch classes if I wasn’t able to make it to the live virtual classes. This has been super helpful and a great resource to take advantage of, plus it allows my daughter to participate in my practice as well. I try to still attend a few classes a week when I am able to.”
As a new mom, Grace understands the challenges of finding time for herself and caring for her new bundle of joy. Thankfully, she discovered Inspiring Action’s baby yoga classes that allow her to combine her love for yoga with the care of her baby. These classes offer a unique opportunity for Grace to bond with her little one while also staying active and focused on her own well-being. With the support of a community of other yogi-moms and a skilled instructor, Grace can now have her yoga practice and her baby by her side.
“Inspiring Actions had the option for Baby Yoga classes which made getting an in person yoga practice much more feasible until my daughter started crawling and being a busybody. The Baby Yoga option was great so I didn’t have to worry about finding someone to watch her while I was away for the 45 minutes, instead I could bring her to the classes with me. I am looking forward to the day that she is able to attend the Kids Yoga classes, but until then I will secretly wish that there will be more class options where I could bring her along with me/baby friendly yoga classes, utilizing the virtual platform or going in to classes when I can.”
Grace’s journey with yoga has been transformational, not just for her physical and mental well-being but also for the network of relationships surrounding her. With her yoga practice, she has discovered a sense of belonging in her community that extends beyond just her yoga studio. She has met likeminded individuals in her fellow yogis who share her values and passions, people she might not have met otherwise. Through community events and mutual support, Grace has found meaningful connections that enrich her life every day. Instead of just doing yoga alone, Grace is grateful to have found a community that inspires and supports her to be her best self both on and off the mat.
“Being part of the Inspiring Actions community, I feel like I belong, that these are my people, like I have a yoga family. When I started yoga, I tried to keep to myself and watch as others participated and interacted in both the classes and conversations before/after each class to try and get a feel for the environment. After attending classes day after day, I started connecting with others, opening up and bonding with those in not only the yoga community, but the River Falls & Hudson communities. I built friendships, and even though I am still not entirely sold on the idea of doing yoga, I look forward to connecting with friends and others that are participating in these classes. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I developed a few complications which didn’t lend themselves well to me attending yoga classes, and often I would get messages from those in the yoga classes and even the instructors just checking in, wishing me well and hoping to see me in classes soon! It is nice to have that connection, and know that there are people in our community that I have touched and that care.”
Grace may not have been completely sold on the idea of yoga at first, but it didn’t take long for her to recognize the positive difference it made when her practice was less consistent. Yoga became an outlet for her to connect with others and she could feel the benefits throughout her day. Despite the daily pulls of life and the challenges of new motherhood, Grace remained committed to making yoga a consistent part of her routine. The motivation she gained from the physical and mental health benefits proved to be well worth the effort.
“Like I said, postpartum hasn’t lent itself well with me finding time or the willingness to go to yoga classes. I had my daughter in September 2022, and I haven’t found the rhythm or flow back to where or how yoga fits into my life, other than I know it had been beneficial and I need to find a way to bring it back into my life. Over the last 9 months as I have been trying to find the rhythm of getting back into attending yoga classes, I have noticed a decrease in physical motivation, which stinks because prior to September I had been going to yoga religiously every day, and sometimes I would attend multiple classes a day! I noticed that not having my community, or a place to put all my worries aside was and still is taking a hit on my mental and physical health. With this information, I have been making valiant efforts to bring yoga back into my daily or every other day practice.”
Commitment is hard, especially in the fast-paced, busy world we live in. Grace’s commitment to yoga despite having the busiest job in the world speaks to the power of yoga when approached with consistency and an open mind. At Inspiring Actions, we welcome yogis of all levels. Whether you have time for five classes a week or one, you will be greeted with open arms when you enter our studios. Whether you’re looking for a beginner class, a fast-paced vinyasa flow, or a unique barre yoga class, we have something for you. Here Grace shares some of her favorite classes; visit our schedule today to sign up and try one for yourself!
“My favorite classes are, or I guess were Baby Yoga and Prenatal Yoga. But my current favorite classes when I can attend are Candlelight Yoga on Monday nights with Monica and the Gentle Yoga on Wednesday nights with Kelsey + Nealee are a few of my favorite classes!”