Hey, guys! It’s been a minute…
Life has been feeling a little bit crazier than usual for me. It seems like there’s always another thing to do; another deadline to hit, another chore to be done, another conversation to have, another decision to make. But despite ALL of the busy, there’s one thing I can always count on to slow me down and bring me back to myself. Yoga.
What is yoga?
Yoga, which originated in ancient China, is a practice which combines elements of the body, mind, and spirit by focusing on breathing techniques, simple meditation, and specific body postures. It’s widely practiced for its health and relaxation benefits. There are a variety of yoga styles including Vinyasa, Bikram, Hatha, and Kundalini, to name a few.
For me, yoga honestly feels like the most balanced form of exercise (no pun intended). When I practice in an instructor-led yoga class I: sweat because I’m working hard, improve my flexibility and strength by doing challenging poses, and totally tune into my body and my emotions.
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Why practice yoga?
Yoga makes SO many things available to us. In a single yoga practice we can experience:
-Creativity through posing in ways that feel good to our individual and unique body.
-Strength in attempting challenging poses and postures.
-Mental focus by setting an intention at the beginning of the practice and coming back to that intention when our mind begins to wander.
-Self-compassion as we love ourselves no matter our skill level or abilities compared to others
-Relaxation in the final pose “savasanah” (also known as dead man’s pose). It’s during this time that we rest and thank our body for the hard work it’s done.
For the next generation
When it comes down to it, the deepest reason I practice yoga is for self-care. What I’ve understood more and more the last few years is that the way I treat myself MATTERS. It matters not just for my own personal well-being but also for the little people who are watching me every single day. My girls see what I believe to be important through how I live my life, and I want them to have a deep conviction that taking care of themselves is one of the most beautiful things they can do.
Both of these pictures were completely unprompted by me and my heart swelled when each of them asked me to capture these moments.
A final thought
I truly believe that some of the most beautiful parts of life are the experiences we have with intense emotions. Sometimes that looks like the inexplicable joy of holding our newborn baby for the first time. Other times it’s the pain of leaving a relationship you thought would last forever. Whether we label these emotions as “positive” or “negative,” they shape us in one way or another.
Some of the most powerful moments I’ve ever experienced have been during yoga practices. This is pretty intimate, but I’ve decided to share a journal entry of mine from November 12th of last year. It reads, “Today, I went to yoga bravely. I knew there was a lot of intense emotion in my body and in my heart that would probably be released. And as I moved to I See Fire by Ed Sheeran the tears flowed. And I came to the floor and covered my mouth as I sobbed and my body shook. And I felt it. The pain, the trauma, sadness… I felt it all deeply. And at the end of the practice instead of laying open during savasanah I wrapped my arms around myself and cried again. In a beautiful swirl of color I felt not just the lingering sadness but also empowerment, because instead of running and hiding I faced myself. And it was beautiful.”