This is my practice…

I wrote this as a submission to an online magazine looking for health and wellness writers.

Enjoy!

——————

I breathe in and I breathe out.  I ground my body to the floor.  I extend my spine and project the crown of my head to the sky.  I put my shoulders back and lift my heart.

This is my practice.

Every day is an opportunity for me to practice yoga, on and off the mat.

My practice isn’t just about stretching and holding poses.  It’s not just about being strong in my body.  It’s not just about physical balance.

It’s about my mind.

It’s about being able to stretch when things get a little tough and to hold myself in positive expectations.  It’s about being strong in my mind, controlling my thoughts and directing my energy to those things that I want.  It’s about balance in my life.

It’s about breathing through those times that stretch me beyond my comfort zone. When emotions stir and times get uncomfortable, that is when I practice.  I practice grounding myself, holding my head high, and keeping my heart open.  When I feel discouraged, I practice, I breathe into my discomfort.  When I am sad or confused, I practice.  I become aware of where it feels uncomfortable and I breathe into it.

I breathe into life.

In the past, I was not aware of the part that I played in the drama of my life.  I was not aware of my perception.  Once I realized that the first thing I could do to change my life was to change the way I thought of life, things began to….change.

I had no control over my thoughts, there was no balance, there was no flexibility, there was no strength.  My mind was wild and uncontrolled with thoughts of lack and fear.  My mind was weak and under the influence of what I saw on the outside.  I was not grounded.  I was not open.

I was at a point where the discomfort, the pain, and the lack were just more than I could bear.  It didn’t feel good.  I was hurting myself.

At the point where I made the choice to finally change my life, I had no idea what I was going to do.  I was out of work, laid off due to re-organization, and I was just plain unhappy. Yet, I knew, in my heart that I was not going to let my circumstances control me.

I went home and I searched and I read and I cried and I wrote and I found so many things that helped me.  While I was working on my mind and my spirit, I knew I needed to also work on my physical body.  I was going to the gym, taking belly dancing classes, and working out at home.  I was not moved by it but it kept me busy.

I had a friend who was practicing yoga and she invited me to come with her to this studio, a small intimate studio that had just opened about a year before.  I was a little intimidated by the place because I saw pictures of the owner almost floating on her hands.  See, I had only been practicing yoga for about 2 months at that time and I didn’t think I could possibly make it through a class.  She finally convinced me.

As I stepped into my first class at The Lab, I noticed the different women.  They were all shapes and sizes, different levels, but all there ready to practice an activity that had been around for ages.

As I sat there, I listened to the instructor guide us through each pose.  She gave us direction on how to hold our heads, our legs, and our arms.  She talked us through the difficult poses and balances, and told us to return to our breaths when a pose felt uncomfortable.  That was the day that yoga became a part of my life.

I gave myself a challenge to go every day for 21 days and the difference in my mind and body was astonishing.  I was stronger, leaner, and healthier.  In the beginning, I was only practicing yoga on the mat.  Using the opportunity during our breathing to encourage myself, to cheer myself on, to let myself fail and try again.

Now, I notice that when life gets difficult, I am more calm.  I now accept the challenges of life with more enthusiasm.  I take my time and respond by breathing through my difficulties.

I breathe in and I breathe out.  I ground myself and open my heart.

This is my practice.

Love life everyone and life will love you back.  Thank you.

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Comments
One Response to “This is my practice…”
  1. Fabiola M. says:

    Beautiful.

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