Alternate title: When I just want to NamaSTAY in bed, I need to go to yoga.
Stress gets us all down sometimes and as we grow up, we learn how to cope with stress in our own ways. Most of my life I have been a dancer and had dabbled in yoga many times. The first time I realized yoga was more than just a way for me to stretch and strengthen was during my senior year of college when one spring break, I needed to do something so I wondered across the street to a small yoga studio. The first thing that struck me was how amazingly friendly everyone was. The second, was how I felt at the end of class. The teacher had offered an intention to the class and that day had happened to be non-judgment. We were constantly reminded that the poses are never complete, every wobble is just a part of the journey. I left feeling calmer, more at ease, and less judgmental of myself. It’s probably important to note that I was under a lot of stress at this time and my anxiety was creeping into my thoughts and actions. That class gave me a little reprieve from that nagging feeling in my chest and that voice in my head.
I practiced regularly the rest of that semester, but then I graduated and moved back home. And for the time my anxiety went unnoticed as all was calm, back in my childhood home, knowing I had a year to “boost my resume” and get back out there (but that’s a story for another day… let’s just say that year didn’t go as planned but was probably the year I needed). And after that year I started my Master’s program and I was on my way to making my dreams come true… except graduate school sucks the life out of all your hobbies and I dealt with my anxiety (mostly of failing) by crying, studying, crying while studying, baking, eating sweets while studying… I think you get the picture. Did I go to a yoga class? No. Did I need a yoga class? Hell Yes. Did I acknowledge this? Hell No. Why not? Because that would have been an hour I wasn’t working… but in reality I probably spent that hour spiraling down the mental river of panic…
But I survived! I have my degree! and I moved on (even though that wasn’t my “dream” but, again, it’s probably what I needed)! And now I’m a real adult or whatever that means, out working and paying bills and writing a blog! And with these life changes so did the stress and so did the anxiety. So I decided to do something about it!
In January, I made the resolution that this would be my year of self care, and part of that was to try to face my stress, understand my anxieties, and get my crazy emotions under control. As I talked to my mom about this goal, she reminded me of that little yoga studio across from my college. She had a good point and a great idea, but could I find that again? I started to look at Yelp reviews and Facebook stuff. I found a few in my area but ended up deciding to try Ahimsa since they offered a deal for new students to go to unlimited classes for a month for $49. I figured that would allow me to try as many classes as possible while still on the high of my resolution without killing my wallet. But then I had to actually go… Does anyone else experience immense anxiety over trying something new? Meeting new people? Going somewhere new? Because I definitely do! I kept saying I would go, and then would chicken out.
Lucky for me, I have an amazing friend with an adventurous soul who is always up for anything. I asked her if she wanted to try a yoga class with me. Now I couldn’t back out, we had plans and my fear of letting people down is 30 times worse then whatever I could face at a yoga class. Sure enough, when we arrived we were greeted by a friendly teacher, the class was a beginner level so we were comfortable, and everything was great! Now I go as much as possible, I even became a member and have attended some workshops (like the essential oils workshop I talked about here). I still have days where I rather just curl up on the couch and sometimes I let those feelings win. And that’s ok (remember that non-judgment intention, forgiveness is my other favorite)! Some days the couch wins, but I often have to remind myself that those are the days I need to go.
Yoga helps ground me so I don’t spiral, but also allows me to rise to new challenges and opportunities. Have you tried yoga? I looked for a place that seemed to have a really strong and inclusive community! I’ll see you on the mat!