Today, Patti’s Palette is recognizing my 1 year anniversary with Yoga Hive! After 12 months of regular Yin and Vinyasa classes, I feel certified, and courageous, enough to share some related thoughts based on my student experience within the four corners of my purple -Manduka!- mat.
I was pondering what to write about; my favorite or most challenging poses, the best workouts to target certain body parts, different types of practices for your goals, etc. Maybe in my future posts, but not today’s. Since Yoga is one of the many ways to observe inwards, I decided not to focus entirely on the physical aspect of the exercise but rather give you 5 broad reasons why I am absolutely loving Yoga. The list below is a truthful testimonial to my routine attendance at Yoga Hive, so it feels authentic to share my internal, and yes a bit of the external, journey so far.
Perhaps once I downward dog dive into my second year and moving forward, I can fine tune my views, being better versed for more specific topics. In time.
OPENNESS I can now talk about this with a sense of triumph. After struggling with deep hip and shoulder openers (major ouch!) when I first started, I’ve now discovered the release and letting go expression of the poses. Finally! It feels sooo much better. The teachers always mention that emotions are stored in the hips as are personal inhibitions and other ‘sticky’ beliefs. This is probably why the body has initial resistance with the movements. Practicing intense stretches week after week now have me looking forward to them and I can vouch that it gets more manageable; massaging and lubricating the tight, stiff areas result in maximum comfort and ultimate transformation. More so, you’ll find yourself further open to the world and the limitless possibilities that exist out there… Yas.
STRESS RELIEF Have you ever seen or heard the quote “I do yoga to calm the crazy”? Now I can relate to it. Our monkey mind is all over the place and it’s likely to over think and overwhelm ourselves with daily thoughts, worries, fears, etc. This of course results in s-t-r-e-s-s. Lord knows we need less of that in our lives. Yoga has helped me slow down, tune into my breath and decompress. I come off the mat feeling like I’ve conquered something –I know, right– that’s given me the freedom to manage whatever tension(s) I came in with. I’ve read that yoga can reduce stress levels, decrease anxiety and increase brain chemicals that combat depression. I don’t doubt that one bit and I also believe it can heighten positivity, enthusiasm and your overall state of mind. Now, that’s what we need more of in our lives!
INCREASED FLEXIBILITY I am not starting from zero in this area, I have my childhood gymnastics and high school dance days to thank for that. However, it’s easy to get frustrated with my lack of (relative term here!) flexibility when I compare it to the front splits, straddle splits and pancake poses that I could effortlessly get into before. On a good day, with ample stretching, I’m pretty much back with my front right-leg splits (yay!) and I have yoga to thank for it. I fancy the idea of having a bendy and elastic body so I’m making it more of a point to maintain, and gain, something I may have originally took for granted. Tsk tsk.
MINDFULNESS Tita Jessica, Queen B of Yoga Hive, shared with me a video called The Science Behind Yoga. The documentary was showing results of various studies showing that when we incorporate a mindfulness practice, like yoga, into our day-to-day activities, it can help rewire or reshape our brain and improve the quality of our life experiences. I was fascinated to see that actual research backed this up, although I didn’t need much convincing. It was already happening for me. Even the simple act of setting an intention before we start helps me become more mindful; I gain insight into my own feelings and thoughts. Living consciously is the best way to exist and show up in life.
SAVASANA I’ve saved the best for last. There’s nothing like fading away into savasana after a sweat inducing heated yoga session or a continuously moving sequential flow. It’s called ‘corpse pose’ for a reason, as it triggers a state of deep rest. The much-awaited sweet ending to each class, where you get to unload everything you just did, quiet your mind and yes… sometimes snore into a quick slumber. Guilty. After all the efforts you’ve put forth, you’ve well earned this position that emphasizes total relaxation and conscious surrender.