Sometimes the best answer is rolling out your mat.
I started my Yoga practice about 7 years ago, and I have practiced on and off since then. To be honest, when I first began practicing, I did it mostly for the physical aspect and did not have an instant love affair with my initial class. I actually was not into Yoga that much at all. It wasn’t until I was living in NYC and found a solid class with a teacher who I loved that I started to consistently show up, regardless of how my day unfolded or how tired I was, and I began to truly reap the benefits. Soon, I not only loved the physical workout and changes I saw happening to my body, but the mental release and the sense of calm I felt when leaving class were equally, if not more, incredible and necessary for me.
Fast-forward to today, and I now have a solid (but certainly not perfect) practice. My practice today helps me feel more connected to my breath and body, stronger and more confident, and calmer and more at ease. And as I mentioned previously, my practice (as well as myself) is always a work in progress, but Yoga helps me better deal with all the ups and downs, any bumps in the road, and the journey of my life… while bringing a brighter light and aura to my days.
Recently, I became more aware of how my practice has changed in regards to the effects it has on me. I was dealing with a lot of exciting, yet stressful changes in my life- both personally and professionally- and, although most of this was positive, I felt overwhelmed, anxious, and in need of Yoga. Because of my schedule I wasn’t able to practice as often as I like, and my body and mind were craving it. As I stepped into class one afternoon, in the midst of the chaos, I mentally checked my racing mind at the door, and I instantly felt a breath of fresh air. Within 5 minutes of class I noticed my breath deepening and the sweat dripping, and it felt as though my stress and anxiety were physically seeping out of me. As I left class, I felt lighter and calmer, and so satisfied that I chose to listen to my body and turn to my Yoga practice to help me deal with my full plate as opposed to less healthy options that would have only numbed what was happening. This is the beauty of Yoga. Yes, I still love the physical aspect and how it makes me feel and look, but the mental benefits are now also a driving factor that get me on my mat, clear my head, and help me feel prepared for what my day may serve.
So, the next time you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, are having a bad day, feel like you’re running in a million directions, or just need a mental release, BREATHE and roll our your mat.