Happy International Yoga Day!
Yoga has become an important part of my life over the last few years and even more through the last few months as I’ve healed and grown post-marriage. I went on a “radical” yoga retreat in Mexico last month that was truly transformative. My new path led me to enroll in Teacher Training at CorePower which coincidentally began the night before the Summer Solstice and International Yoga Day. We were assigned to write an introductory essay which I was excited to share with my class, and now here.
What is Yoga and Why Do I Practice Yoga?
I found yoga because of back pain. I began to love yoga when I noticed it reduced my anxiety and brought my mind into sharp focus during class. I felt accomplished and stronger, especially in the beginning when my body wasn’t accustomed to the poses and breathing and just getting through class felt like a slog. I’d be sore for days, but I kept coming back for more. My desire to party faded because I wanted to feel the benefits of a morning class rather than blow off steam through late nights and booze.
Then came new strength, new accomplishments. I stood straighter. I felt more confident. There were days that I would suddenly nail a pose that I had been slowly working towards, sometimes without even realizing I was. I might not get it every time after that, but more consistently still. Core work and chaturangas got easier, believe it or not. Yoga began to fuel me, and not just physically. It also fueled my heart and my mind.
That mental and spiritual strength would eventually help me as my marriage crumbled and I found yoga and exercise to be my solace. Surrounding myself with positivity and a different language were key. It led me to a transformative CorePower retreat in Mexico and ultimately brought me here to TT to share with others.
I’ve heard that yoga is meant to clear the mind and prepare the body for long seated meditation. In our busy and cluttered western lifestyle however, it provides a necessary break from the outside world and allows us control of our minds to keep calm and centered amid what life brings our way. One of my favorite quotes that I learned years ago from my therapist encapsulates this idea, and it has morphed in meaning for me over the years as I have grown and matured:
“Peace – It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”