Clear back when I was in college (the first time), I decided I would get into yoga. I figured the stretching and the structured relaxation would be good for me. So I got some yoga VHS (yes, it was that long ago), and started stretching my inner chi. I now have several DVDs. Brett got me a new one last month.
Just as she mentions in the article, meditation stuff is real hard for me. Quieting my mind is almost impossible most times. When I’m running my mind is constantly going. I’m working through papers or lesson plans or doing math (Brett finds that last one funny). Going to sleep takes a long time for my mind to fully calm down and stop. And that’s where the yoga comes in.
Savasana (lying on your back and relaxing completely) is actually my favorite part of yoga. Because it’s lying on your back and it’s exercise! However, if you leave me to my own devices while I’m lying there, I won’t relax. I have to consciously think of each muscle in my body and tell it to relax. On the DVDs they guide that thought from your toes to your head. When I’m listening to my DVDs I get it. And it feels so good. But when it’s silent around me, it takes a bit of effort to mentally talk myself through it. But I can do it.
Yoga has also changed my breathing. I played flute for 7 years. And I run distance. So my lung capacity is pretty good. Yoga focuses my breathing though. I think about the air going in and filling up my body, making it expand. And then visualize it going out. When I’m visualizing that way I can control my breathing and calm my body rather than letting it control me. I take that time to remind my shoulders to stay out of my ears too. Lately I’ve been imagining the new air coming in and cleaning everything up and then tumbling back out with all the bad and negative I might have inside of me.
Mindfulness. Meditation. Relaxation. They are not things that come naturally to me. But I’ve also learned that they are not impossible. I just have to work a little harder at them.