When we’re kids our parents protect us from physical and emotional harm. Once we’re older we’re on our own - unless we happen to have a devoted partner or gang of ninja friends. My parents were my saviors when I was hurt or bullied as a child. One thing I’ve learned since: adulthood is not for the faint hearted. Yoga is a great way to cope with the challenges of being grown-up. It’s been a saving grace for me, and it remains a constant in my life. Here’s what it has to offer:
1. Mood elevator: Friends originally suggested I take up yoga as a way of coping with a recent breakup. I was dubious, but they were right. From day one, yoga left me feeling elated and full of gratitude. Negative emotions took a back seat, and my strength and resilience grew. Yoga helped me leave the past behind, and live in the present.
2. Weight Control: Yoga provided the healthy constant weight-loss that has eluded me for a decade. Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Power Yoga did wonders for my body and set me on the path to achieving that coveted yoga butt! As the poses gradually became more challenging, I built strength and increased flexibility.
3. Improved Posture: I didn't even realize I had terrible posture until I took my first yoga class. Posture alignment is greatly emphasized, and the effects are soon apparent. I saved myself many future visits to a chiropractor and alleviated my chronic back pain. Score!
4. Healthier Eating Habits: Life’s too short to forgo the occasional cupcake. Yoga taught me to respect my limits with food, treat myself when I deserve it, and heal my body from the inside out through proper nutrition.
5. Peace of Mind: Breakups are never easy, and during mine I often felt irritable, impatient and uncertain. Unlike high intensity workouts, yoga left me feeling calm and centered. It soothes the body, mind and soul. Finding peace within is a constant journey, and yoga helps to show the way.
Something drastic needn’t happen for you to discover yoga, like it did for me. Millions happily practice and feel better for it. We all have our freak-out moments, but yoga takes it down a notch. Start with classes at a yoga studio. Once you learn proper pose alignment, you can practice on your own at home. There are plenty of great instructional yoga videos you can find online for free or cheap, as well. So, here’s to a better you!