I’ve been practicing yoga on and off since 2009. I’ve said many times that yoga seems to be the best and most sustainable way for my body to build strength and muscle.
What I didn’t count on was that it would also be the most sustainable way to quiet my mind and calm my violently beating heart.
I’ve written before about how helpful yoga is for my mental health. Yoga was amazing for helping me get out of my postpartum funk. Since that tearful session in 2017, I’ve tried to be more conscientious about maintaining my practice. I got weekend packages at Treehouse Yoga (Facebook | website). I got a membership at YogaPlus (Facebook | website).
Now I’m trying out online classes with different teachers and studios, like I Go Beyond. (FYI, the Gentle Vinyasa class with Teacher Mariana is slow but intense!) I’ve even taken to surfing YouTube for classes.
There are a lot of things I love about yoga.
I love how the movement and the poses force you to be deliberate about movement, to be conscious of stance and alignment, to be aware of what muscles you need–and don’t need.
As an asthmatic, I truly appreciate how yoga teaches you to be aware of your breath. So many people take breathing for granted, and that’s probably because they’ve never had to struggle just to inhale, and they don’t know that an asthma attack feels like a ton of bricks on your chest. Yoga teaches you how to move with your breath, to really notice the way the air enters your body, and to even be deliberate about how you exhale.
But the most precious, most important thing, for me, is that yoga forces me to focus on the here and now. When I practice, I forget about deadlines and strategies for the year. I don’t think about targets and numbers and indicators. I don’t worry about not being good enough, about overdoing things, about saying or doing the wrong thing.
“If you fall ten times, get up ten times,” is a thing I have heard different teachers say. “It’s okay if it’s not happening today,” is something they say too, when I have difficulty getting into or maintaining a pose. “You can stay here, or you do this other variation,” they say, to accommodate those who are okay where they are, and those who want to push themselves a little bit out of their comfort zone.
I love how yoga teaches me to be okay with myself. Yoga reminds me that this is me and this is my body. Some days my body can do amazing things, and on other days my body just needs rest and some stretching.
I love the communities I’ve found. I love being in awe of what other people can do with their bodies. I love the sense of support and peace that class brings.
Yesterday my former officemates invited me to a yoga class. I thought somebody was going to teach, but instead we followed an online video.
And it was lovely. We caught up and laughed, and talked about the past and the present.
Even in this quarantine, we found a way to be together. Even in this quarantine, we find strength and healing, peace and joy, serenity and solidarity.
For this I will always be grateful. Love and light.