My Personal Yoga Journey
Last year I was in a bit of a funk. During the Christmas season I was enjoying hot chocolate and looking getting warmed by the fireplace with family. It was a frigid day for where I was, and we were all gathered around and looking at childhood photos. I saw a photo of myself smiling and stretched out like a cat. I tried to do that position and it did not go well. I realized that all of the flexibility that I had as a child basically vanished. This was the turning point to changing my life and going on a yoga journey. It was now or never.
How Daily Yoga Has Helped Me
I Can Finally Touch My Toes
As I mentioned, I was not the most flexible person in the beginning of the year. I started to stretch in the morning for five minutes before gradually increasing it each month or so by five minutes. The first milestone came in mid-February when I was able to touch my toes with ease! For someone with the flexibility of a rock, this was a huge deal. I celebrated by attempting a split. It was a work in progress.
I’ve Noticed Less Swelling
In my article about my journey using tart cherry juice, I detailed how my left ankle has been swelling since I was a teenager. Although it used to flare up from time to time, I have not noticed my ankle swelling at all this year. I’m sure that the stretching and yoga have improved my circulation and helped decrease swelling throughout my body dramatically. If it has done that, I can only imagine the other benefits that I have not been aware of.
It Taught Me to Relax
Sometimes when the world is noisy and I am settled with a long to-do list, the easiest task that gives me joy is yoga. It has been hard this year to stay calm with the pandemic, but yoga has taught me to finally relax the tension in my shoulders and control my breath. There have been more times than I can count where I have noticed shallow breathing and yoga has corrected that tremendously.
I’m More Present
As a chronically future-oriented person, I am trying my best to be aware of every moment and not take any moment for granted. Yoga has given me the gift of creating moments for myself rather than living moment to moment for tasks and deadlines. There are times to work, but there is never a moment that should be detrimental to your self-care. Becoming a yogi has given me privilege of discovering myself in the chaos of the everyday.
It Has a Domino Effect
The last thing that I have noticed is that trying yoga has caused me to stick to other habits that I have implemented this year. Although my diet has never been much of a problem, I notice that I don’t crave my favorite vegan cookies as much as I used to. Mornings are less stressful because I have a routine to look forward to. At night, it is much easier to wind down because I know that I will do at least 10 minutes. As a former insomniac, I’ve never slept better. It has created other habits that I might not have considered before, including learning how to cook and taking time to play music.
How Do You Start?
If there is one thing that I regret, it is that I didn’t start sooner! I had so many preconceptions that yoga would be harder than it actually is. There is no need to do all of the hardest moves at one time. In reality, yoga is customizable and is created to suit you. If you are having trouble maintaining your downward dog, then it is not required. The easiest way to start is to incorporate stretching and a few calming moves.
After nine months of incorporating yoga and stretching into my regimen, I can say that am a happier, more bendy version of myself. Can I do a perfect split? No, but I’m getting there. This journey has taught me that is all about the progress, not what we perceive as perfection. No I am is the closest to perfection because I am in a healthier and happier body. I urge you give it a try. Who knows, you might even find that you have found a life-long habit.
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