Finding my Breath…

I noticed something amazing while in my Tuesday yoga class, I am getting stronger. I still sweat (and sometimes curse under my breath) during down dog and often feel like my wrists are cramping up. I know that anything having to do with balance is hard on me, I wobble, my muscles hurt and I usually can only hold it for a few minutes before collapsing back into child’s pose. But this morning on the light rail I was able to stand the whole time without falling over or gripping the pole for dear life. While going through the warrior poses and pyramid last night, I found myself feeling good and strong during those sequences, even if I couldn’t put my foot in the air like the more advanced students.  I am still learning the names for all the poses and often have to glance at other students to know where we are going next. Even with all of that, the poses are coming easier to me and I find myself pushing the boundaries a little to see if I can go just a tiny bit further.  I know my limitations but part of me really wants to push out of those limitations eventually and it helps to see that a few of those limits are at least being stretched.
On Tuesday we opened our practice with three om’s. During the last one I felt an amazing weight being lifted off of my chest and a few tears sprang to my eyes. I quickly blinked them away because it wouldn’t do to cry in yoga class. They were tears of joy though. For some reason I really needed class this week. I have been feeling overwhelmed by work, having to pay taxes this year, my infertility, my PCOS issues and my anxiety. You don’t realize how much weight you are carrying until you release some of it. That is what yoga feels like for me. It feels like I am shedding my really overwhelmingly heavy load for just a bit. After the first couple of poses I can feel myself starting to breath deep again after practically holding my breath all day long. I can feel my jaw un-clench and my thoughts start to slow down. My muscles release whatever tension they feel and my aches seem to disappear. I struggle to find my breath all day long but in yoga it isn’t a struggle, I just breath. I struggle to keep my thoughts from racing all day long but in yoga I just concentrate on my poses and breathing. I don’t feel judged while practicing yoga. Everyone is so intent on what they are doing and the teachers are so kind, there is absolutely no judgment. I can just relax.
There is so much yoga has done for me since I start practicing consistently. Mentally it has helped me deal with my anxiety in much healthier ways. I find it easier to control my racing thoughts and squash down the sense of panic. I also find it easier to breath during the day and I sleep so much better at night. It has kept me from smoking again during times of really high stress. It has also helped me love my body more. Which sounds odd but when you see what your body is capable of it is easier to see it as beautiful. Not only that but all my instructors focus on loving your body and appreciating it for what it can do, listening to it. I stand taller and I move a little more gracefully. I no longer curse my body for what it can’t do. I have learned how to listen to my body and then push it a little harder without injuring myself. I am gaining so much flexibility which is helping me ease a lot of aches and pains that come hand in hand with PCOS. But above all it is making me more confident in my own skin. I find myself wanting to take care of this body I am in, treat it better, eat healthier and work out more.
I think my biggest lesson in yoga has been how to be quiet. I tend to be a fighter. I tend to be honest and upfront. I tend to be a little pushy. I tend to want to get my point across and fight it till the end. Which caused a lot of stress in my life. Yoga has helped me learn to settle into the quiet part of myself, to be comfortable with it and embrace it. I have taken those techniques and started using them in my day to day life. It helps me make healthy decisions about whether something is worth fighting or if it would be better to be quiet. It has helped me learn to not say whatever pops into my head and to really think on a problem instead of just reacting to it. I find myself reacting less to negativity and embracing the positive in my life.  I really listen carefully to what people are saying to me now and try to see things from other points of views. These are the things I have struggled with a lot previously in my life and I can see myself start to struggle with them again when I haven’t gone to a yoga class in awhile.
Yoga wasn’t always like this for me, it was only recently that yoga has become so important and calming for me. I want to say it is the kind of practice I am doing now. I am focusing more on calming yoga that connects the mind with the body rather than yoga for weight loss. Yes I feel guilty I don’t burn a ton of calories during my yoga classes but I also know that without the yoga I would feel a lot worse than I do now, probably resulting in a lot more missed workouts.
This morning I asked the husband if he would be alright heading to the grocery store alone so I could do one more yoga class this week and he said yes a little too quickly. Turns out he doesn’t particularly like grocery shopping alone but he does like seeing me at peace with myself and in a better mood. I knew that there wasn’t going to be another chance for me to go to another yoga class this week and I really feel like I need 2 after the last week of not coming to yoga. I wonder about how my body will do with yoga classes 2 days in a row but I am almost positive it will be alright. Especially since I just proved to myself that I am capable of walking 10 miles in 3 days.

Yesterday I got to thinking, I would really love to be a yoga instructor. The studio holds classes on how to become a yoga instructor but I would like to become a more advanced student first. You can’t teach something if you haven’t explored it and learned it first. It is a great goal to have though. Maybe with a little hard work it will happen.
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