Up until recently, I was not a yoga lover. I would take a class, from time to time, but usually only if a friend asked me to tag along, or if I was healing from an injury that prevented me from doing anything high impact. As a past Lululemon employee, the confession that I was indifferent towards the practice (a very “meh” attitude, if you will) was basically sacrilege. Practicing yoga is a big part of the Lululemon culture, and ultimately what the clothing line was inspired by. I was tremendously fortunate as a part-time employee--the company offered free yoga classes all over the city. I had the opportunity to try out any type of yoga I wanted, at various studios. Unfortunately, I really didn’t take advantage of this generous benefit as much as I maybe should have.
At the time, I was working two jobs (or was back in school), and was just trying to keep my head above water while staying in relatively decent shape. To me, yoga was not an efficient use of my time. I wanted to get faster and become stronger. I didn’t have an hour to waste lying in a heated room, downward dog-ing it, taking part in an ‘om’ or two. I just didn’t have the space for it in my life. And when I did attend a class, I felt even more weighed down, as I was determined to fit my regular workout into my schedule as well.
Keep in mind that during that time (and still today, as I am very lucky to have remained friends with a group of those amazing women, despite our ever changing lives) that I was surrounded by yogis. These girls (and some guys) lived, breathed, and sang the praises of yoga practice. I felt like a fraud in their presence.
Years have passed since these days, and many life experiences have been had. My life looks very different in many lights. And suddenly… I get it.
I have arrived at a place where I see the purpose for yoga in my life. And you better believe I am making room for it.
I have now seen two ND’s who have told me that in order to support my adrenal glands and proper cortisol production, I need to chill out. Sound familiar? We live in this world that is constantly on the move. For some reason, there is this mentality that if we aren’t on ‘vacation’ then we do not have the luxury to relax on a regular basis. Relaxation is indulgent. So we ensure that we pack every spare moment with activity or chore. Only recently has this realization hit me… and I am not taking it lightly.
I finally see that finding stillness and quiet is part of leading a healthy life. It can literally heal your insides. And this is something that I am absolutely in control of. I have the power to create that environment. So why haven’t I? Both naturopaths have suggested meditation. But, when I decided to give that a go, I woke up on the couch half an hour later. Turns out I think traditional meditation means napping. So I turned to the only other thing that I was familiar with: yoga.
I am committed to creating and maintaining my health. It’s amazing how this commitment has allowed me to see yoga in a completely different light. Suddenly, I realize how it can fit into my life with purpose. When I lay on my mat for the first time with this intension in mind, the practice became something new to me. I found quiet for the first time in a long time. Now when I practice yoga, I will my body to release tension and stress. I clear my mind and find this amazingly silent, still place that I didn’t know existed. And knowing that I am actually using this practice as a healing tool for my body allows me to recognize its importance and appreciate its value.
I am trying to hit my mat at least twice a week. Some days I head to my favourite neighbourhood studio, and others, I hit up one of the many amazing yoga channels on YouTube, and practice in my living room. There are really no excuses. Time, as it is for everyone, is still an issue for me. Life is busy. This new activity means that I may, some weeks, need to replace one of my regular workouts. Now that I understand the many benefits yoga can provide—not just mentally, but physically—I’m ok with that.
There are many things in life that are beyond our control, and that can be frustrating. So when you have the opportunity to take your health and well being into your own hands, do it. Don’t deny yourself healing that you have the power to create.