About 10 years ago I took my first yoga class and absolutely HATED it. I recall yelling like a lion in the class and honestly thought it was the strangest thing I had ever done, and never went back.
About a year and a half ago, I began to have extreme challenges in my life; I was constantly feeling depressed, anxious, and stressed out. Not to mention there were major issues going on in my personal life, which I will get into in a later post. I had also gained weight and felt like I wasn’t at my best self. While I was going through all of this, I realized that I needed to do something which would not only help me mentally, but also physically. And in came restorative yoga! Tah-dah!
In restorative yoga you hold stretching poses, which are often on the floor, for 3-5 minutes. When I first tried it I remember thinking, “this is boring, and not challenging in the slightest”, but when I focused on the poses and not moving for 3-5 minutes, I realized how mentally and physically challenging it truly was. Envision not moving a finger, and not letting your mind wander to how hungry you are or your date later that day, and truly focusing on the here and now and how much this pose is hurting, but at the same time challenging yourself to push through the pain and stay focused. IT’S A CHALLENGE! It makes you focus on the present, challenge and push yourself to continue when it hurts, and be mindful of your body and where you are at in the posture. When I truly concentrated on each of these things, I learned how to relate it to not just yoga, but also my life. If you put your mind to it and constantly challenge yourself, and see the results and growth, it makes you feel like you accomplished something! I remember my first flat footed squat. At first, I could barely hold it for 1-2 minutes, as my shins began to burn and then I had to move or stretch out. Now, I can hold the posture for over 5 minutes at a time, without moving. That, my friends, is a yoga success! Push harder, work harder, and focus more, every time you are on your mat and the fruits of your labor will come to fruition in no time.
So this brings me to my first of many yoga lessons; we must always remember to celebrate the small things in life, because we might not always have something big or major to celebrate such as a child birth or an engagement. A 5 minute flat footed squat is not only an improvement, but a SUCCESS!
So, here’s to the small things in life and celebrating the little victories that we have everyday! Cheers!
P.S. And while I still have a long way to go in my yoga practice and in life, mentally and physically I have never felt better. 🙂