Let’s talk about something that has changed my life since 2013 and taught me the importance of self care…Yoga. My first official yoga class was in 2013. It was bikram yoga also known as “hot yoga”. The name in and of itself is a bit intimidating when you haven’t experienced hot yoga before. I was having a rough day and a friend of mine texted me about going to hot yoga class with her.
A part of me didn’t feel like it because I was in a horrible mood. The other part had been curious about taking an actual yoga class with other people of all levels. I had done yoga at home for years but never took a class. It was more about convenience I guess.
When my friend asked me to come to class with her, I had just taken my social work licensure exam and failed it. I felt terrible but didn’t need to. It was only a test. All I know is that I told my husband about my invite to yoga and he encouraged me to go despite how I felt. So, I went. It was one of the best decisions I made for myself.
I remember at the beginning of the class while we were in child’s pose focusing on the breath I thought to myself “This is awesome.”…Just from breathing alone. The instructor said the words which were music to my soul “Let go of all of the shit from this week”. I needed to hear that and I did. I began to learn the art of letting go that day and it felt amazing.
I had done yoga before but there was something different about this time. I did yoga for “fitness” before but this time I had a reason beyond getting the poses right. I got on the mat not for physical exercise but for my spirit. Later, I learned that it’s called yoga flow for a reason. It starts with awareness, the breath, spirit, mind and the body follows.
My spirits were low and needed uplifting. My peace of mind was shook by an external conditions and I allowed that to happen. I learned that my peace of mind is not contingent upon passing a test or how others perceive me or any other extenuating circumstances. I cannot control what goes on outside of myself but I can control what goes on within me.
I proceeded to fall in love with yoga and kept it up for almost a year two to three times a week. Once I discovered pure barre I alternated between yoga and barre. Nothing ever felt like yoga though. Nothing ever compared.
Fast forward to today. I’ve been practicing yoga at home about three or more days a week. Recently I participated in a challenge (twelve days of yoga) which motivated me to practice daily even if only for ten minutes. The benefits are endless and the little improvements you notice as days progress are profound. Sometimes I do yoga twice a day(morning and evening) depending.
Over the years, I always kept yoga in my routine along with other forms of body work (exercise). So, I would do yoga once or twice a week at home along with pure barre which I had done for a few years (2013-2015). It was great. I love pure barre too but nothing was like yoga. Yoga is soul work when you fully embrace it.
Prior to starting yoga, I thought it was about fitness but had a mindful component to it. It’s actually the other way around and more. Yoga means “union”. We could get into sanskrit terms but for now I’ll keep it simple. Mind, body, and spirit become aligned when you become yoga. They unite.
When you break down the many aspects of mind, body, spirit there are many other components within. We don’t “do” yoga, we become yoga. When we become it, our soul is illuminated. Everything else falls into place. You may not be into yoga which is fine but I am.
Books like The Bhagavad Gita by Eknath Easwaran (although there are many translations available) and Osho’s Mind, Body, Balancing as well as others have all increased my interest in yoga. I’ve begun diving deeper beyond the surface of how yoga is presented in western culture. Oh, India how I would love to come experience you full circle….One day.
Just be mindful that movement is necessary. Stagnant energy that doesn’t get released finds places to hide within. If that stagnant energy doesn’t get shaken up regularly, it can eventually develop into physical ailments and conditions making you sick. We become what we do, so choose wisely.
Love and light,