By Casey Carpenter
With Christmas and the New Year beginnning, I would like to take a minute and share why I practice yoga. Like most people, I started doing yoga to be healthier in body. I wasn’t really too concerned with how yoga could transform my mind or spirit. I just wanted to tone up a bit without doing a lot of cardio or weights.
I knew that toned arms and abs wouldn’t come overnight, so I set about building a reasonably consistent practice. As I learned the asanas and learned about breathing through a pose, something began to happen. Yes, I noticed I had more strength in my shoulders and arms, and yeah, I could see and feel a difference in my stomach and legs as well, but there was something more. Something unexpected. As I learned about holding and breathing, I learned what it was to be still and focus. As I learned about flowing through a pose, I learned I could practice the same concept with problems in life. Or if I held a pose during Yin yoga and felt the heat and tightness that comes with it, I learned that it is uncomfortable for only a little while. So many of the concepts or ideas of yoga that we practice on the mat in class or at home can be practiced in our daily lives as well. It seems like it took me a strangely long time to understand this.
I also noticed the longer I practiced yoga, the calmer and less reactive to sudden or charged situations I was. I felt more in control of my words, thoughts, and actions. My patience grew, and it seemed I was no longer as short with people - especially those I loved. I would like to add that I know yoga is not a cure all for stress and the craziness in life, but it was working for me. In a big way…
I won’t lie, getting to the mat every morning or every other morning (at the very least), was sometimes very, very difficult. Whatever could get in the way often tried to - kids, work, pets, appointments…However, once I made the decision to practice yoga daily, in the mornings if at all possible, and followed through with it made a huge impact on my life. The daily decision to meet myself for 20-30 (sometimes more) minutes a day doing something I enjoyed and that was extremely good for me felt good. It felt positive. Taking the time out for me everyday felt a little selfish at first. Now, I see how it is not selfish at all. It was one of the kindest acts of self love I could give myself. In turn, taking that small amount of time for myself every morning has helped me to become better to others. More giving, more patient, more kind.
I’ve always heard that yoga is transformative. I am a true believer and example of this statement. Yoga has made such an impact on my life. Leaning into yoga can be exciting, humbling, peaceful, and sometimes tough. I promise you, though, it is worth it. If you are interested in trying out a yoga class to see what I am speaking of, Aligned with Green on Main Street in Crawfordsville, IN has a great schedule for all levels. You can find it at https://www.alignedwithgreen.com/. Krista would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Until next time, namaste my friends. Have a wonderful new year!