I have a new love – my new love has me twisted, tied in knots, and literally head over heels. I find myself doing things I never imagined. My newfound love is (heart) Yoga, an ancient Indian exercise that is helpful not only for the body, but also for the mind. Yoga is a universal practice rich in its history and meaning. It is a complete exercise that strengthens your bones and muscles and focuses on proper breathing.
I was invited to try a Yoga for Stress Relief class at Hendricks Regional Health, led by Lori Coffey. The darkened room was softly scented and dimly lit with flickering tea light “candles.” Soothing music filled the air. Everything was there and it all just drew me in, and before I knew it, I was in deep. I’ve “done yoga” before, but was unable let go of everything and immerse myself in the practice ... until now. It is transforming. Crossing the magical threshold into the room; footsteps soften, voices hush and hearts calm. Peace and warmth surround you – everything is dropped off at the door.
Sitting in “Bound-Angle Butterfly” or resting in some version of “Legs Against the Wall” or “Child’s Pose,” helps to disconnect from the busyness of the world for a few minutes and catch my breath. While many people appreciate yoga for building buff arms and tightening tushies, I've got some other fabulous reasons to love this age-old practice.
1. Yoga allows, encourages, and requires making time to breathe and relax. Yoga centers me. The practice decreases anxiety and stress levels – and helps to impart a calmer, more mindful personality. Yoga helps promote relaxation and restful sleep (Sukhasana or Easy Pose).
2. Yoga strengthens the body and improves balance. Yoga gently stretches muscles – makes you feel “longer” and taller, too. It helps increase flexibility (Tadasana or Mountain Pose).
3. This exercise strengthens the core, improves posture and discourages slouching (Vriksha-asana or Tree Pose)!
4. There's no competition or judgment in Yoga. What works for you is all that matters. Honor your body where it is today – not yesterday or tomorrow, but where it is now and go with the flow. Remember to appreciate the body for what a miracle it is and for all that it does and can do (Ujjayi Pranayama or Victorious Breath).
5. Yoga is kind of sensual – and makes me feel a little sexier and stronger. Who doesn’t need a little more of that in their life (Virabhadra’s Pose or The Warrior)?
Maybe you should say “hello” to your Yoga mat and goodbye to your stress. Maybe I’ve found the secret to a calmer, happier life and finding my inner strength, too. A little chocolate, a little wine, a little Yoga, and who needs a man? (Giggling.) Just kidding, Ron!