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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Just Breathe

This is Tara Stiles. For those who aren't that close to me, I'm very thankful that I stumbled onto her a year ago. She has taught me so much about myself. 
Today, she inspired me to share how yoga has helped me and I thought I'd go full blown blog post for everyone to see. Here goes.

I like to put everything on a calendar so I can physically see what I need to do and what is coming up. Lately, since this school semester is coming to an end, my life is packed with to-do's...when I look ahead a few days to see what's coming up I feel overwhelmed and I start focusing on every little thing that needs to happen. When something simple is surrounded by several other things then that simple task is no longer simple. The way you think and feel about what is about to happen or your busy day can physically and mentally make something more difficult or easier. That saying, "it's all in the mind" is pretty much what I'm getting at here. 

I've experienced times where I get stressed over what is yet to come. Not only does that stress me out more when 'it' comes, but it uneccisarily stresses me out before 'it' comes. THEN there's the snowball effect where I'm already falling apart over one thing that everything else in the path of that thing, will also get out of hand. This cycle repeats itself within the last two months of every semester. I'm changing that. 

Yoga is more than just putting yourself in a pretzel shape and chanting out funny phrases. There are several types of yoga and you do what works for you personallly. If that chanting puts you in your happy place, then go for it. They all have one thing in common though, and it happens to be the most important lesson I've learned. Breathing.

Yoga has literally saved me from myself. I'm an over-thinker, I heavily criticize everything I do and I worry waaaay too much about what is happening next. When I'm always looking ahead like that, I don't take the time to look at the 'now'. I am always helping myself in the future (or so I think) and I skip over helping myself now. 

When the calendar gets full, I find it much harder to take time to pause and do a yoga routine. Not that I don't have the time, everyone can fit 10-15min of yoga in....but it's that when I do have some free time I'm in a daze, thinking and spacing out because my brain needs to regulate itself. Plus, when you squeeze in a quick routine as a chore rather than something you do to relax and open you mind and body..then you probably don't get many benefits from it. Rushing through a yoga routine to me, was never satisfying. 

Here is how yoga saved me. I was finding that I wasn't doing yoga as often as before I got to these predictable busy days and the effects on my mind and body were noticeable. I could mention how, but that is a whole different story and blog post haha.

I was starting that horrible cycle again and thought to myself that I had to stop it this time. 
So what did I do? What am I doing? 

It seems so simple because we just do it and don't think about it. We are a mutitasking culture and we do as much as we can simultaniously. Sure, breathing isn't considered a task to us. But if every now and then we just focus in on our breathing it could make a difference. Breathing promotes the thought of you as you. Not you as a student, you as an employee, daughter, mother, helping friend or friend in need. But you as yourself. 

Now breathing is the first part and is the biggest and most important. But if you can clear your mind for a few minutes, I mean really clear it and push all thoughts out of your head and focus in on YOU then that would be amazing, but I won't ask too much, haha baby steps.

That is how yoga saved me. It taught me the simple concept of just remembering to breathe
In my current busy life, I am SO grateful for that lesson. When I look at the full calendar today, I have a brief moment of an overwhelming feeling and then I just close my eyes, take a deep breath or 10 and clear my head. If there's time I'll sit and just meditate or do a relaxing, or even stimulating if I need the push, yoga routine. Then when I return to my to-do list, I have a fresh mind and body so that snowball effect doesn't crush anything. 

That feeling is the best in the world, I feel like I can do anything. 

Thanks Tara Stiles for giving me the inspiration to share this.