If you only met me now, you likely wouldn’t believe what I was like in college. I was always frazzled, crying regularly, completely overwhelmed, and constantly over-committed. This continued after I graduated too. I signed up for too many networking events, jam packed my calendar, worked late into the night, and never got enough sleep.
But, all of that changed once I was introduced to yoga.
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Many people mistakenly believe that yoga is all about flexibility. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While improving your flexibility is one of the benefits, it’s definitely not one of the most important for me.
Not convinced? Here’s what I’ve learned from yoga:
- To respect myself more
- It’s OK to put my own well-being first
- To actually listen to my mind and body
- That I’m in control of my thoughts
- Just because I think something, doesn’t mean I have to give it time or attention
- My breath is a resource I can turn to in any situation
- I deserve to be treated kindly
- I can be a better wife/friend/sister/daughter/employee if I take care of my needs first
- I deserve the respect I give others
- My time, energy, and money are valuable—and I control who/what I spend each on
- I don’t have to say yes to everything people ask of me
- Meditation is a powerful tool to help me in times of stress
- Mindfulness can change the way you live
- To be more thoughtful
- To slow down and practice both control and patience.
- To identify my feelings—and use productive methods to handle negative ones
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None of the lessons above were ever actually taught to me while I was on my mat, but by learning to move thoughtfully, turn to my breath, and focus attention on my body and thoughts inside the classroom, I walked away with invaluable resources for my life that I now use every single day.
If you’ve never taken a yoga class before, I urge you to give it a try. While this statement may sound dramatic, I can say this with 100% certainty: yoga changed my life.
PHOTO COURTESY OF MATTHEW ZIEGLER