Taking yoga this semester has probably been one of the highlights of my semester. My first experiences with yoga were during middle and high school going to classes with my mom. I would go to classes for the health benefits and because I enjoyed it. This expanded into time that I could spend with my mom that we both enjoyed. This year I have seen my love for yoga blossom into much more than that. Yoga has become a set of skills that I can use to reconnect my mind to my body when they seem to be drifting apart in the midst of all the stress of daily life. Yoga is a way that I can appreciate my body for where is in that moment; a way that I can give back to it since it is always giving to me.
First thing first, I am not a morning person. I am not particularly sure why I signed up for the 8:30 AM class. My Tuesdays and Thursdays are filled with back to back classes from 8:30-2:30. The first week, I dreaded getting up in the morning on those days, knowing it was an early start to a long day. I very quickly realized that yoga is the best way that I could start those long days. I found myself with so much more energy coming out of the classes, energy that lasted me the entire rest of the day. I felt the blood pumping through my entire body and the same endorphins that I felt after a long run, without the pain in my knees of course. My head felt clear and ready to sit through three other lecture classes.
I think one of the most encouraging parts of any class is when you are able to take what you have learned in the class and you are able to take it out of the classroom and use it in life, and I have found exactly that in yoga. I have learned the skills and I have been able to use them in my life, during good days and bad days. I feel that I have the skill set and tools to effectively practice yoga on my own and in any setting.
Overall, I think the best thing I have gotten out of yoga, as I have mentioned a few times, has been a mindset of thankfulness, gratitude, and respect for my body. I have realized it is stronger and capable of much more than I realized. It is resilient. It remembers what it has been through, but it also remembers the ways to take care of itself and care for itself. The body knows when things are right and when they aren't. I think this past semester, through everything I have been through; trauma and yoga, I have learned to really listen to what my body is telling me. A headache or tense shoulders that I would shrug off, telling myself I simply slept wrong, now causes me to pause and reflect on what is really going on.
Sometimes I have to take these as cues to extend myself a little grace during the day. Other days I have to examine them to see if they are rooted in lies that I am subconsciously telling myself.