I really do love yoga.
Anyone who has fallen into the rabbit hole of yoga can tell you that it does transform, it does influence and it does make most people see things differently. The thing is, I can’t seem to keep up.
I know that to really benefit from yoga I should be practicing regularly. And I do from time to time. I will go long (well sort of long) stretches at a time when I practice weekly in a studio and almost daily at home. I realize some people wouldn’t consider this a regular practice but for a single working mom of three children (two teenagers) and a writing gig on the side, a weekly practice is regular.
The thing is, I want to be a serious yogi. I want to do handstands on the beach and get up at 5 am and do sun salutations. I just can’t seem to fit it in—or I am just not disciplined enough.
But even though I am not a serious yogi, I actually now do these things:
A while back Cat and I worked on getting a meditation practice going. This is a challenge for me because mornings are chaotic and evenings I can’t stay awake for more then three minutes after I get in bed. But one thing that experiment taught me was how to meditate in short bursts, and how to do it anywhere. I find that I can do a quick meditation in the car while waiting for my kids to come out of school. I can zone out for a few minutes in the lobby of the dance studio. These little moments definitely make a difference in my day and I look forward to them.
I was never a health nut before I started practicing yoga. Honestly, I still don’t consider myself a health nut, but being a part of the yoga community has opened my eyes to the type of food I choose to eat and how it effects my body. I’ve gone vegan, consume more whole foods, cook healthier meals for my family and pay better attention to labels. Sure I occasionally eat vegan junk food. Yes, I order pizza on Friday nights. But I am so much more aware than I used to be.
The pre-yoga girl I was before was more likely to say things before thinking. She was apt to lose her temper quickly and lash out at her kids. I’m not saying this never happens anymore, but I notice that I am more mindful before I talk to my children and try to think about what I say to most people in general. The mindfulness of my body during yoga—the attentiveness I need to give myself during class—has influenced how I treat the people around me.
Read about Spirituality
I’ve always loved to read and have acquired a shameful amount of books over the years. However, more recently the material I read has a different context. I read things that make me think. I read books that make me strive to be a better person. I don’t do this because I feel like I should or because someone is telling me I should, I do it because a general interest has blossomed by being around like-minded people. This has had a ripple effect in the way I respond to people and situations. I get stressed a little less. I don’t obsess as often. I am learning to be less attached to pre-concieved ideas and this has been a huge mental health step for me, especially when I have struggled with depression.
Think Better About Myself
In my junior high yearbooks I scribbled over my own picture. Self-criticsm was the norm and I’d sit with my friends and we would talk about all of the things we hated about ourselves. One person hated her thighs, another didn’t like her hair—there was aways something we didn’t like. Since beginning yoga, I’ve learned to accept the place I am in now. I see that no one is perfect and have learned to not compare. Self-acceptance is freeing and when I see people that struggle with this now, I feel terribly for them. It’s an awful place to be and I’m glad yoga has helped me get past it.
I’m not an Instagram Yogi. I am not a guru or even a yoga teacher. I am so far from enlightenment that I may never reach it.
I am not a serious yogi, but I am so much better than I was.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo Credit: Andrew Kalat at Flickr