written by: Tara Beckmann
When you see or hear something about yoga, does it just seem like something that requires you to be young, flexible, thin, basically ‘in shape’ to practice, and that it is therefore, not for you? Have you seen posts on social media that make yoga look like more like a performance or a feat of contortionism that appears to put the body in terribly uncomfortable looking positions and just thought, ‘No thanks.'?
I’d like to help in any way I can to make the practice appear less intimidating, more approachable, and actually doable! My hope is that more people will see that yoga is a deeply personal practice, something you do for yourself, and that it can be whatever you want it to be, whether you come to our studio or any other, or simply decide to start a practice at home. Know that your choices are not limited to ‘hot' ‘power' ‘flow’ ‘vinyasa’ or whatever classes. You do not have to do headstands if that’s not your thing, and in fact, I highly recommend checking out beginner, basic, yin, restorative classes, or intro classes if you are indeed a newbie. If you haven’t practiced in a while, or maybe you used to run, hike, bike, weight train or whatever, and you’re just interested in getting yourself moving again, you might actually enjoy a Zen Yoga class with me. I used to weight train and hike, I love to move, and I’ve always been active in general.
As time went on though, the weights and the trails left me feeling sore, and not really in a positive growing pain kind of way. More like a repetitive use kind of soreness. In addition to that, I had always struggled with insomnia, anxiety and depression. I got sober and stress did not magically disappear, in fact it got a lot worse at times. I struggled with socializing and feelings of loneliness and isolation. For me personally, going to a yoga class became a way to be around other people, but not in a way that I felt obligated to talk necessarily. It became an opportunity to take ah hour long break from ‘reality', to check in with myself, to clear my mind by moving my body, breathing, and linking that breath with the movement. t’s a powerful tool for connecting to your own intuition, to find your own inner reserve and resolve, to get down on the mat and simply get to know your body. For all of these reasons, I decided to study so I could teach this practice to others to help them find a better experience of life in the way that it’s helped me.
My yoga practice gives me the ability to have a gentler, kinder and more compassionate relationship with my own body and mind. It is self care, daily hygiene, a time to work out the kinks in my system, both physically and mentally. It calms and settles me, and I can assure you that more times than not it looks nothing like an Instagram worthy post.
We all can quickly come up with a list of obstacles preventing us from taking time to exercise, prepare a healthy meal or relax, but the most frequent reason I hear is guilt. So often we feel guilty for taking action, time or money to do something that improves our health and/or happiness. I say hogwash! How can you be a patient and kind parent, spouse or friend if you are stressed out, run down, or operating on crappy fuel and junk food?
You owe it not just to yourself, but to your loved ones to take care of you! If you have ever flown, you know that each and every time you fly the attendants will remind you that in the case of an emergency you should put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. Why is that? Well you can only go so long without oxygen right? You only have a matter of minutes before you will pass out. After you have passed out you cannot help anyone! In fact, then others will need to help you instead. So, put on that oxygen mask immediately, and you can be of service to the entire plane.
Is this any different than real life? I would argue that it isn't. It's likely that you have a number of others that depend upon you including children, pets, co-workers, family members, neighbors and others in your community. If you are neglecting to take care of your health, you won't be able to help anyone else for too long. If you are stressed out and under nourished it is a matter of time before you will exhaust yourself or even worse get sick. Long-term stress that goes on for years can have even more serious results such as chronic diseases including cancers and depression. But with a little planning you can take a few minutes for yourself and take action to feel great for years to come!
Here are some suggestions / reminders of ways that you can help yourself out:
These are just a few ideas, I think you get it. The main point is do NOT feel guilty about taking time for you. This life is a gift and so is your body. Take good care of it and reap the benefits of self care. .