Check out this blog post by Yoga District student Dan Carter on his journey turning away from bars, returning to yoga.

The alarm screeches at 5 a.m. I can’t move. My head, my body, everything is sore. It’s only Tuesday and I know I have countless days and nights of commuting, working and writing papers ahead. There’s seems to be only one solution: drink… A LOT.

That was 2.5 years ago. I had made the sage decision to take on my first full-time job a month before graduating college, which meant commuting hundreds of miles in addition to my pre-existing job and school. There was a finish line to this marathon, but it was long enough to build a habit. That was a daily routine of unhealthy eating, heavy drinking and zero exercise. “The ‘gym’ is my stress release,” began to sounds a whole lot more like ‘gin’.

After graduation, I moved to DC so my commute disappeared, but my bad behavior didn’t. Being in the city just meant more people who wanted to go to bars. I was getting more sleep and leisure time, but feeling just as sluggish every morning.

Thank god for swimsuit season.

That summer my friend posted a picture of me in my bathing suit on Facebook. I couldn’t believe how I looked. No amount of ‘sucking it in” could hide my belly. That’s when it clicked: I looked and felt worse than ever before. I needed a change.

I tried going to the gym, but found myself unhappy there. My waistline began to shrink, slowly, but I had no passion. The gym felt lonely and unwelcoming. I decided to return to yoga.

In high school I practiced yoga, but only as frequently as my part-time salary could afford. I didn’t remember much about how the practice made me look, but I remembered how I felt.

I did some research and settled on Yoga District.

The next few months of my life were transformative. I found myself wanting to wake up at the crack of dawn to practice, I made friends who took me on runs instead of to bars, and I began worrying less about the stress of work. I felt good again.

By the time swimsuit season rolled around I took a look in the mirror and my lips curled into a smile. My belly was gone, well almost…But more importantly, I was happy with my body (Who says that these days?!). I was no swimsuit model, but I was proud of those hours in the studio and their effect on my body. But more importantly, I felt great in my body.

My life continues to change at a startling rate, but one thing has remained constant since that summer: I’ve felt good. And when you feel good all the time, even a bit of a Buddha belly is nothing to worry about.

Photo by Ben Kerckx

sign up for free classes

If you're new to Yoga District, join our weekly email list to learn about free yoga classes and events.

Thanks for being part of the community!