Tomorrow, being Easter, marks the end of my commitment to practice Yoga twice a week. However, it will not mark the end of this practice in my life. The experience of regularly incorporating Yoga into my life for the past forty days has truly been transformative. The benefits are numerous. Yoga is:
- a great stretch for tight running muscles
- a release for my tension-filled back
- increasing my flexibility
- a time to slow down and breathe deeply
- a time to think
- a time not to think
Every time I leave a Yoga class, I do so feeling calm, and peaceful. Yoga clears my mind, makes me a more patient and grateful person.
I struggle with an anxiety disorder, and the past few weeks were getting pretty tough. Whenever I’m having an anxiety “flare up,” I become very inflexible when it comes to any changes or anything unexpected. I tend to back away from things I cannot control, and end up ostracizing myself.
But something a Yoga instructor said during class a few weeks ago really stuck with me, and it’s a mantra I’m now trying to incorporate into my every day life. As we were finding Pigeon pose (a great stretch for my sore IT band, but also one that tends to be a little uncomfortable). I was feeling a little antsy in class that day, and my hip was killing me as I tried to find a comfortable position. But, she explained that this pose is about letting go. She encourage us, with each breath, to release our muscles and surrender to the posture. On my next exhale, I mindfully released the tightness in my hip, and sure enough, I sank closer to the floor. I let my forehead settle onto my stacked palms on the mat in front of me. Breathing deeply, I listened as she suggested:
“What would happen if you applied this practice to your life? What would your life be like if you surrendered? If you just let go?… If you just released control?”
Her words have stuck with me. After that class, I was able to break out of my anxious “slump” and have embraced the idea of living in the moment, and of just letting life happen. So far, allowing things to slip a little out of my control hasn’t produced any terrible results. As a matter of fact, I’m learning that some of the best moments are surrendered moments. And when times get tough, or I feel my mind slipping back into its old pattern, I say to myself (sometimes even out loud):
Just try it.