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June 28, 2013

Confessions of a Yoga Junkie. ~ Kathleen O’Hagan

My name is Kathleen and I am a yoga junkie.

Sure, I love to run outdoors at least once a week but I rarely make it through the three miles without stopping to do a couple of sun salutations.

To me, nothing compares to getting a good stretch.—it’s an intoxicating feeling. You know that stretch you do when you first wake up in the morning after a long sleep?

That’s what it’s like—only amplified because it happens when you are in a position you never thought you would be in before you started to do yoga.

I was always the one during our physical assessment tests in gym that could barely reach my toes seated or standing. Most little girls have unlimited flexibility; I was unfortunately not one of them. Because of this, something as simple as a standing forward fold has been a process for me.

Six years later, as my fingers easily touch the floor, I smile to myself and remember where I began.

When I began my love affair with yoga, I had no idea what was coming. I was just looking for a new way to get my body moving. I had always been a runner, which was great. But I was looking for more. As the years went on, I found myself diving deeper into my yoga practice and about six months ago, I went from practicing three to five days a week to every single day.

Now, I can’t imagine a day without it—I squeeze in a practice no matter if it’s a quick practice at sunrise or light sun salutations and hip stretches before bed.

The beauty about yoga is that it is actually possible to do it every single day.

With most workouts you need to take a day off for the body to recover—with yoga there is always a practice to suit whatever your mind and body needs on any given day. I know that no matter what I am feeling I can nurture it through a different variation of yoga.

For example, on days I need to get sweaty and let loose I can flow into a free spirited Vinyasa. On days I need some structure, I turn to the Ashtanga primary series. If I’m feeling extra funky, I opt for some Kundalini kriyas to really shake things up.

But it doesn’t end there.

Sometimes I need to get deep into my hips, so I turn to Hatha and Anusara for their long and juicy holds. I hold seated pigeon at my desk in the middle of the workday. If I haven’t had time to practice with my body then I practice with my mind and repeat the mantra “I am yoga” while focusing on my breath, posture and attitude throughout the day (try it, it works).

Is this obsessive? Maybe.

As someone who has had a hard time controlling anxiety and nerves, I have found it extremely helpful. Some people are born level-headed and calm or were nurtured to be that way—I grew up in what many would call an unstable environment.

My mother did everything she could to control the situations we were given, but there were some things that were out of her hands; she had no control over my father’s comings and goings—or the death of my brother.

Through my journey of trying to become who I wanted to be, I found yoga. Yoga helps me nurture a part of me that had been wounded, it’s given me confidence and allowed me to see how strong I am. Sure—I also do it to keep my body healthy and in shape, but I could do so many other workouts to accomplish that.

Nothing feeds my spirit more than the relationship I have with myself when I am on the mat.

Like any other amazing and supportive relationship, you want to be in contact with that person every moment of everyday.

I often wonder what teachers would think of my method of practicing yoga—I would hope that they would be proud of the fact that I use yoga as it was meant to be, which is a way of life.

 

 

 

Kathleen O’Hagan is a Holistic Health Coach, aspiring yoga teacher, elephant journal editorial apprentice, and an NYC personal assistant. If she could have it her way she would be anything and everything she wanted to be. Until then, she’ll do what she does best which is dream and change her mind. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook, where you will find that she loves to make treats out of raw chocolate and watch re-runs of Friends and Everybody Loves Raymond with her boyfriend and dog, Kali.

 

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Ed: Bryonie Wise

 

{Photo: via Pinterest}

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