Reasons to practice yoga

When people ask me why I do yoga, the answer is never a simple one word.  It’s not about flexibility, which is what brings most people into a yoga studio for the first time (including me).  It’s so much more than that.  It’s the mental clarity and strength that I receive from practicing yoga that always keeps me coming back to my mat.

Yoga teaches you to quiet your mind, to listen to your thoughts (and not judge them), to accept your feelings as they truly are, to truly be you.  And this is not something easily done in today’s society.  We see images of who we “should” be all over the place – television, movies, magazines, social media.  Picture perfect people in picture perfect settings.  That’s not life.  Life is messy and raw.  Life is full of ups and downs that constantly challenge you.  Life is far from picture perfect.  But we feel as though it should be – and we are failing if it is not.

Yoga teaches you that you are not a failure at any time and that what and where you are in that present moment is exactly where you should be.  You do not need to change a thought or feeling.  You do not need to be able to touch your toes, have enough strength to perform an arm balance, or lose 10 pounds.  You are exactly where you should be.

The journey to accept that fact is an ongoing process.  As humans, we always strive for more.  And having a goal to work towards is not a bad thing, as long as you are ok with the present moment status.  You do not have to meet that goal today, tomorrow, or even this year.  The goal will be met when the time is right and when you are ready.

That’s what yoga teaches me.  That while I wish I were more flexible or stronger in my practice, I am exactly where I should be at this time.  That it’s not only acceptable, but beautiful, that my practice and my being are not perfect.

It’s easy to forget this.  It’s easy to get caught up with life and away from the mat for a while.  And then the “shoulds” come back.  I “should” practice more.  I “should” be able to go deeper into a pose than I am.  I “should” not have taken so much time off.  Then I step back on the mat, and after class the “should”’s go away.  It’s like magic.  Every time I go to a yoga class, I learn something new.  I find a new level of clarity.  The learning never ends in yoga, and where ever you are in your yoga journey is always the perfect place to be!

 

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A good start

Right now the little boy is lying in his crib playing with his feet.  I love that view on the monitor!  He’s so happy and content – and flexible!!

After not working out a bit last week, I was determined to start the week of on a better foot.  Well, Monday didn’t happen but it rarely does.  I have a ton of work tasks to do on Monday so really I think of Tuesday as the start of my week.

Tuesday did happen.  Boy did it happen.  I went to my normal group exercise class even though I had a ton on my mind and didn’t really want to go.  But lying in bed Tuesday morning, asking God to give me strength and guidance for the day ahead, for some reason a vision of me doing the speed skater exercise popped into my head.  I don’t know why – but I took that as a sign from at least my subconscious that I need to go exercise that day.  (And no, we did not do any speed skaters)

My mind wandered the whole class – my body was going, but my mind was elsewhere.  And I think that made me work out harder than I normally would have.  Because boy oh boy are my muscles sore today!

So with my mind a little bit clearer today after a 2 hour phone call to my Mom, I decided to do some yoga stretching.  And my muscles did not want to move!  But it was good for them – even as I sit here envying my son’s flexibility I’m happy I went.  While I’m no where near as flexible as I was pre-pregnancy, my muscles are much happier now than they were before.

So all in all a good start to the week.  (Besides the mind clutter that I can’t stop from freaking me out!)

What day is it?

I’m having difficulty remembering what day it is.  Days tend to all blur together – one bleeding into the next.  We actually still have a notebook we keep logging our son’s diaper changes, feedings, naps, etc.  Otherwise we won’t remember.  Parenthood definitely takes away some of your brain power.

So it’s already Wednesday.  Wow.

I am happy to report I did good on my workout goal for last week.  I did every workout except for Sunday’s yoga DVD.  It’s probably the one I need to most, but the one I feel least guilty about skipping.  Odd, right?  But there were days I had to force myself to do my 15 minute exercise  – and I did it.  So yay!  Small victory dance.

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My goal this week is 30 minutes.  Yesterday that didn’t happen.  Yesterday was chaotic.  My sitter didn’t show up and I had an early morning meeting with my boss – so my husband had to stay with the baby.  And from then on, craziness ensued.  You know how when your day starts off crazy, it just stays crazy.  Unexpected trip to the pediatricians office, ridiculously long lines at the grocery store for 11am on a Tuesday, all that happened.  So no, I didn’t workout then.  But I did my 30 minutes on Monday and today, so I’m just picking up where I left off.  No guilt.  Things happen.  No quitting – that’s the more important thing!

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On a totally unrelated note, while I’m happy I’ve started this exercise regime, I still can’t help looking towards next year for me to finally have some happiness.  I don’t know why – I’ve never been a New Year’s person.  January 1 is just the same as December 31st in my book.  But for some reason I feel like all the hurt and stress I have buried deep down in me will disappear with the changing of the year.  It doesn’t work that way, I know.  I just don’t have the time or the means to release it, and it will stay with me until I do.  That’s a scary thought.  But I just have to keep powering on.  When the feelings overcome me, I let them.  I don’t judge myself.  You can’t wish away sadness anymore than you can wish for more money.  So I just feel it.  And hope that one day I won’t be so sad anymore.

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But that’s my update.  Nothing overwhelming.  Just thought I’d throw this out there.