Too often we avoid dealing with issues we believe we’ve overcome, maybe we avoid out of pain, laziness, but whatever the reason, there is a belief that nothing goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.
I was unhappy and anxious, and didn’t know how to change. I felt overburdened, stressed, overworked, and unappreciated, and didn’t see an end in sight. I couldn’t even imagine being happy, feeling calm or lighthearted. Avoiding confrontation at all costs was a priority for me, and I believe this philosophy is what prevented me from working through many of the issues that caused pain, stress, sadness, and anxiety. I wanted to hide from everyone, and everything. I was full. Full of problems, full of pain, full of anxiety.
And then, I found yoga. Please, please don’t take this the wrong way. Yoga is not a miracle cure. Yoga doesn’t happen overnight. Yoga is simply a vehicle that allowed me to carefully, on my own time, peel back all the layers of the stinky onion that I was, and work on those lessons that weren’t going away. Yoga allowed me to breathe through times of high-anxiety. Yoga allowed me to do the work, to take the time, to practice more patience and stillness, and that is where I found peace.
I wish I could say I found peace in poses I struggled with, I did not. In fact, early on, many poses made me doubt myself, question whether I’d ever be worthy of calling myself a yogi. I had a taste, a moment of feeling “light” after my first yoga class. I wanted to feel light and airy again. I wanted to be free from anxiety – so I went to another class, and another, and another until I came to believe it was the classes that helped me achieve the feeling of “lightness”. I went every single day, even on vacation, because this was the best I had ever felt in my entire life.
But it wasn’t the classes that gave me that feeling of freedom. It wasn’t the poses or the breathing either. It was all these things that helped to change my perspective on life. There will always be struggles, how you choose to react emotionally, physically, and mentally to those struggles is the single greatest factor in creating a happy life. Yoga gave me the ability to acknowledge situations (scary, stressful, uncomfortable) rather than react. The difference in my life has been dramatic.
Acknowledging a situation requires no emotion or energy, it is simply accepting the situation as a witness. Reacting to a situation is what changes you from a witness to a participant. When a stressful/tumultuous/rowdy/emotional situation occurs, you have the choice to continue being a witness or a participant. This is one of many lessons I have learned through the practice of yoga, and the best is yet to come. The longer you practice being present for yourself on your yoga mat, the more present you can be for those you love.
Be grateful for the things you love. Treat every day as if it were the best gift. Every day you wake up, you have the gift of do-over, the gift of another day of sun on your skin, and wind in your hair. When you wake up each day, treat it like Christmas morning. Remind yourself, think to yourself, “YES! I get ANOTHER DAY” to do it all over, bigger, better, and with more love.
Each morning, I open one eye at a time. When that first ray of sunshine hits my pupil, that's my cue. That's my reminder. Today, I get an extra day with my husband – to tell him how important he is to me, to tell him all the ways he makes my life better. I get an extra day with my kids to hug, to kiss, to cuddle, and tickle and paddleboard. I get an extra day to feel love, to be love. I get another day to do YOGA!
Want to know more about how you can find the life you love? If nothing else has worked, why not try yoga? $30 for 30 Days of unlimited yoga – it might just change your life the way it changed mine.