Breathe Into Your Strength
Well, I know I haven’t posted in a kajillion years, but I just felt like I had some stuff I wanted to write about, particularly my journey with yoga over the past year. I am so grateful to James’s mom for getting me into yoga by inviting me to a class that she taught. I have seen so many healing, strengthening, empowering, and calming effects it has had not only on me but on so many people. I can remember attending my first class, the competitive person that I am writhing inside to be better and hold the hardest pose, and being nervous and uncomfortable with bowing, chanting “ohm”, and saying “namaste”… what did it all even mean?
Fast forward to where I am today, attending several classes a week of all different types including Level 1 and 2 vinyasa, Prana flow, hot vinyasa, advanced yoga, and power yoga. I am beyond excited to become teacher trained throughout the month of March to teach at my university and maybe small yoga studios if they will allow me; I am just looking forward to learning more about everything behind the practice of yoga and teaching classes full of other people who feel the same way about yoga that I do!
There were a lot of times I questioned is it okay to be practicing yoga and not really understanding all the Hindu gods and things that they spoke of in some classes. I initially started doing yoga purely for the physical aspect of stretching from all my running and for body strengthening because I’m not really one who loves to lift weights. During different classes I can remember I started feeling healing, without a conscious surrender, in areas I didn’t even know needed to be released. Things like jealousy, tension from school, friends, family, competitiveness, worrying/anxiety, trust, self-doubt, self-consciousness, judgement. Yoga became a time for me to “be on my mat” in tune with my thoughts, let go of what wasn’t honoring me and God, and to allow myself to be filled with positive thoughts - even if it was something as simple yet profound as “you’re alive, you’re healthy, and you’re here today”.
There are no limits to where and what God will use as an instrument in your life to bring you closer to Himself, and I believe He has used the practice of yoga as a means to show me how powerful my thoughts can be, and has helped me in transforming them from destructive and negative to more positive, although I’m not perfect.
One of my favorite poses pictured above is called “Humble Warrior” or Baddha Virabhadrasana. I love the surrender in this pose, like what I was telling you about earlier, that surrender that happens within you without you even knowing it. The pose’s name is perfect combining two of my favorite aspects that I’ve discovered practicing yoga, the “humility” in being able to fall out of poses and get right back up and try again, to allow others in the class to succeed even if you want to get that headstand more, the acceptance and love everyone shows, and also the internal humility of becoming aware of what your heart and mind are filled with and being humble enough to realize there is room for change and growth. Then, of course, the “warrior” part - the fighter! It’s amazing to feel your body becoming stronger only through the means of your body if that makes sense. Instead of lifting dumbbells at the gym or doing leg press machines, you are lifting your body, holding poses and igniting muscles within you to strengthen.
Ah, I could say so much more but I guess I will finish it up with a quote from another yogi that I love.
“Place your hands on your heart. Feel that? This is you. This is your life. There is a purpose to why you are here. Right now. Don’t question the cards you are dealt. Play with what you’ve got and make the best you can of today. When in doubt, place your hands on your heart. Your purpose is right there. You can never lose it, and it will never leave you.”