Every night this year, I've been taking a few minutes to jot down what I'm thankful for, and I've realized that YOGA has come up a lot. Every day that I practice yoga, I feel the need to express my gratitude for my newfound practice. I know my yogi-followers will concur, but I also wanted to share this with all of you who haven't yet introduced yoga into your lives, as I urge you to give it a shot.
I used to be cardio (and weight-training) obsessed, and found yoga boring. It wasn't enough exercise. I couldn't fathom how people could waste one hour of their day, or more, just stretching, and even worse, just sitting cross-legged doing absolutely nothing. I had one hour in my day to exercise, and there was no way I was going to spend it on something that didn't make me sweat!
But then I moved to Miami, started doing a deep-dive into my health, and found that what I really needed was to de-stress more than anything else. I had digestive issues among other things, and it finally dawned on me that even though I thought I was doing everything right to be healthy, nothing would change until I learned strategies to just relax, to get proper rest, and to be more present with myself. So I decided to give yoga another shot, seeing it as a spiritual practice, and a way to learn meditation and mindfulness, rather than physical activity. And it's done wonders! I seriously have seen a huge improvement in all aspects of my life since I started doing yoga - including better sleep and better mood, among other things.
Lastly, I want to add that it actually is great exercise! All my NYC friends can attest to the fact that I did countless weight-training / total body conditioning classes week after week, for all my 7 years in NY, but I was convinced that I just didn't have the genes to build muscle. My dream was to get defined arms (my friends know this too!), but I had practically given up. I figured I'd just keep doing full body workouts to make sure my arms didn't get jiggly, even though i'd never get those "Madonna" arms! But after 6 months of yoga, I started noticing a huge difference in my arms, shoulders and upper back. I'm loving it, and therefore loving yoga all that much more. Plus, it's also hugely improved my balance and flexibility.
Here is a picture for proof!
So if you want to de-stress, become more grounded, light-spirited, balanced, and get defined muscles, give yoga a shot! Just be patient, try different teachers until you find the ones you like. Each class and each teacher is different, but I promise you that there is a class out there that you will enjoy!
Namaste, my friends.