My relationship with yoga began about three years ago. I’d do some stretches here and there, not putting much thought into them. However, after my second cervical fusion surgery, yoga began calling for my attention even more.
Once I allowed myself to explore the unknown of the mat, things began to change. Not only my physical health, but my mental health as well. It was quite a strange, but exciting experience. Before yoga, I never experienced such a deep connection with my body. I never knew that you are supposed to work with your vessel, not against it.
Yoga helped change my entire perspective of chronic pain and the human body. I no longer saw chronic pain as the enemy. I began to understand that sensations are the only way the body can communicate with us- whether it feels good or bad, the body is always trying to tell us something.
Yoga (and meditation) finally made me understand that although I work alongside my body, that doesn’t mean I cannot be in control. The nervous system is a tricky thing. It can be easy to stimulate, but even harder to calm back down. I have adrenal issues due to my health condition, so sleeping is normally a struggle for me. Just yoga alone at night helps bring my body back into balance.
The over stimulation of my mind is soothed by deep, mindful breaths. Anxiety used to reside in my body like an old friend, and it was a guest I couldn’t make leave. Now, I have the tools to unclench my nervous system and allow my body to live in peace as it was intended to. It’s truly a beautiful thing.
Taking a yoga class taught me several things. For one, it taught me patience and showed me places I could infuse more of it into my life. Some days I simply could not show up and perform on the mat, and that is okay, I had to learn patience and acceptance of my unique self. Some days I was able to do some, plus more, and that is okay too. I had to teach myself that one “bad” day does not define an entire week. Yoga class also opened up portals for me. So often we don’t realize how much we are carrying, until we get on the mat and it all unfolds before us. There were many mornings I would arrive at the mat with grief and anxiety tangled around my neck like a winter scarf, but as the intentional breathing and positive affirmations began, these feelings had no choice but to unravel. The only choice I allowed myself in the moment was peace and compassion. It didn’t matter what was happening in the future or the past, all that mattered was the present moment. Not many places in society give you time for peace anymore, but I knew twice a week minimum, I would find my serenity.
When you allow yourself to be at peace and relaxed, you allow space in your heart to hear Source. Source never screams and shouts because it doesn’t have to. It knows all the answers because it chooses no side or agenda. Without yoga and meditation, this space is closed off, it has no room to breath. Constant stimulation from this busy world pushes us further away from our natural state of being. Which quite simply is: existing.
Without peace you miss the simple parts of life. The way the flowers smell in the spring morning, or even how the sunrise peaks through the blinds as it shines upon our half of the Earth. These are the reasons we are alive. We are not alive to sit in four walls and stare at screens. We are alive to feel the prana move through our bodies, charging our chakras into balance, so we can fulfill our life purpose each and every day.
It is easier said than done I must add. Life is nothing but waves, and some days the tide may be calm, while other days not so much. However we must never forget that the sea always calms eventually. We must understand, days that are not so great are simply reminders that the sun cannot shine without the night sky. There cannot be good without bad. If life was only beautiful and easy everyday, we would never appreciate it half as much as we should.
There must be duality and contrast, this is how the universe works. Just as the tides change in the ocean, the sun and the moon balance within each of us. Some days we will shine, while others, we may hide away, but if we choose peace over chaos, we will always find our way. Yoga is one of the beautiful ways we can all find our way back home.
I hope this piece helps spark a more positive relationship between your mind & body.
Let me know below: what are someways yoga shined within you today?