I practiced yoga tonight for the first time in a long time. And I mean I really practiced it. I didn’t just rush into the gym and leave yoga for the end of my workout, and I didn’t rush through the poses.
Instead, I focused on my breathing. I let go of my stress from this week and whatever future plans I worried about, and I relaxed.
I’ve been at the BlogHer ’17 conference these past two days (woo!). It’s been both exciting and a little overwhelming. I haven’t seen that many people who I don’t know since college orientation. But it’s been great to meet other bloggers, and to discuss digital media with some great influencers.
We practiced a 5-minute meditation to start off the day, yesterday afternoon and this morning after breakfast. These sessions were lead by health and wellness experts (Starr Barbour and Anande Leeke). I’ve never practiced meditation, but I appreciate its calming awareness. I find my calm moments and muscle relaxation in yoga.
Yoga to see this
My love for yoga goes back to my college days. I took a yoga class for credit with two girlfriends. We lived down the hall from each other, and we’d meet early in the morning, twice a week, and walk over class in the gym. It was a short walk, and we’d always wake up to a beautiful sunrise on the lake.
We were also very spoiled. This classroom had a HUGE window in the back. Overlooking a LAKE. Our instructor was awesome in that she’d start us off facing a different direction for each class. So we’d either start off facing the lake, letting the beautiful natural light in, or we would start with our backs facing the window and then end the class facing the lake.
I immediately told the instructor about my scoliosis, how I have the metal rods in my back and I might not be able to bend or complete the poses perfectly. The instructor was really accommodating. I still use a few tricks she taught me, such as placing a folded towel between my chest and my right quad when I’m in Pigeon Pose to help balance out my “bad” side. Yoga increases our flexibility, so even the poses are “flexible!” If you can’t do a pose or need to adjust, you can always modify the pose to work for YOU and YOUR BODY.
Attention & intention
Yoga requires attention from our body and our mind. I’m no expert here, but what I do know is yoga can be a tremendous help to prevent pain.
When I don’t exercise, my back is killing me! Most of my exercises involve lifting weights, but I must incorporate yoga to prevent sore muscles the next day, and to prevent a sore back.
Yoga can help us focus on specific parts of our body. But it really engages A LOT of different body parts without us realizing it! When we’re in Child’s Pose, we’re stretching our back, our hips, and ankles. We’re also engaging our core!
And then there’s the mental side of it: the “mind”. This may differ for each person, but if you give it your all, yoga can also help heal your mind. It can help us de-stress.
Don’t mind if I do
In order to get something from yoga, we must give it our everything! We have to let go…of the physical tension we feel from carrying heavy bags, from twisting the wrong way, from sitting at a desk all day, or even standing up all day. We have to let go of the emotional tension, as best as we can, to help us heal, and to move on to the next step.
Let go of that argument, let go of that project from work or school, and let go of whatever is bogging you down at the moment. My advise is to let this be your moment, to listen to yourself breathe, to clear your mind, to be open to having a great day or ending the day on a high note.
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut or to listen to ourselves go a mile a minute when we’re busy. Work, school, family, kids, spouse, significant other, food, gym, clubs, television, phones, websites, the list goes on and on. When we turn off the distractions, we’ll be pleasantly surprised with how much we can accomplish. Yoga gives us an opportunity to unplug and be present with ourselves.
I challenge you to set aside time to celebrate YOU with some You-ga.