7 Things I Learned from a 30-Day Yoga Practice
Wednesday, February 3, 2019
Written by: Cora Tomowich
Hello all and welcome to the first Lumira blog of 2019! I hope you are so far enjoying a lovely February (weather notwithstanding) and are happily maintaining your New Year’s resolutions!
For my first piece of 2019, I thought I would share some thoughts on my recent experience with a 30-day, at-home yoga practice. Throughout the journey, I have come to some truly amazing discoveries and confirmations; and thought this might be a good time to reflect.
So, read on MacDuff!
1. The Body Likes to Move
With regular yoga added to my day, I found that my body very quickly got used to the movements and would eagerly welcome the resulting physical sensations. I would immediately feel warmed and energized in my joints and muscles, even with slower routines.
Unlike any other exercise, yoga pushed my flexibility in a way that my body seemed to very much appreciate. Before I knew it, I began to crave the movements like I crave food when I’m hungry!
Perhaps the Tin Man wouldn’t need so much oil if he just did yoga…
2. The Body Likes Routine
The human body is governed by highly evolved biological cycles and rhythms. Daily rhythms tell us when it’s time to eat, sleep, and wake up; while other cycles tell us when to experience a change of life, such as puberty or menopause.
Keeping up with a regular exercise routine, yoga or otherwise, gives the body a major component of what it needs to maintain overall health and wellness.
Much like good sleep and fresh vegetables, a daily dose of movement is part of this complete breakfast!
3. The Pelvic Floor is Amazing
Okay, so this one I already knew but was delighted to prove again! Many times in yoga we are asked to engage the core by “drawing naval to spine” or “squeezing the abs”. Both strategies of core engagement, however, left me high and dry. Abdominal work proved to be nothing when compared to the incredible strength and endurance that I received from properly using my pelvic floor.
Seriously folks, I am not a yoga expert, and I have a long way to go before becoming one. However, even as a novice, I was able to hold challenging poses and maintain better balance by simply replacing abdominal engagement with the correct pelvic floor breathing exercises. When I shared these exercises with an advanced yogi, she too was impressed with the results!
So, look out abs, ’cause there’s a new player in town!
4. Breath = Power
Did you know that yoga actually started as a breathing practice before it became a movement practice? Perhaps that is why breath work in yoga is so very important.
All too often we use breath-holding or short breaths to achieve strength in various tasks or activities. During my 30-day journey, I found that such strategies are completely backwards! Breath IS your strength. Breath IS your power; and yoga teaches this from the very start!
5. Yoga is a Movement Meditation
The practice of meditation comes in many forms. Sometimes it is experienced in a moment of stillness, sometimes it is through creative expression. Sometimes meditation can be experienced in the middle of a busy work day when you feel “in the zone”.
During my 30-day yoga experience, I found that it was inevitable to meditate on the mat. Yoga teaches us how to go within and focus on our breathing. It emphasizes moving mindfully through the poses while staying present to find the inner stillness. Yoga is meditation through movement, and it flows with the intention of the yogi.
6. The Body and Mind are Linked
Studies in the field of mind-body connectivity continue to prove that our thoughts, intentions, and mental states significantly affect our physical being. In fact, because the mind and body are known to be so closely linked, many researchers in this field, such as Deepak Chopra, M.D., refer to it as “the bodymind”.
During my 30-day journey, I found that yoga was helping me control my busy mind through focused breathing, which then helped my body move more easily into new territories. By setting intentions for myself on the mat, my muscles seemed to follow suit. A calm mind helped my muscles feel more flexible and the yoga poses were much easier.
Frankly, if the mind allows, the body can do amazing things!
7. It’s Actually Easy to Let S*** Go
There is certainly no shortage of things in this world to occupy the mind. There is plenty to think about at any given moment, and after a while, thinking can get quite exhausting. Before you know it, you feel burdened by thoughts and the unwanted emotions that come with them. Well, I’m happy to report that yoga can help change all that.
When we move mindfully with the breath, it’s actually easy to quiet the noise of the outside world. In finding inner stillness on the mat, the nonsense fades away. Suddenly answers and solutions come to the forefront of the mind, while the annoyances become less bothersome. With even a brief moment of meditation or yoga, we give ourselves permission to let go of the unwanted, and focus on what’s really important: the True Self.
So go ahead and drop the baggage – it does not serve you. Happiness, by contrast, is easy! Allow yourself to experience that freedom any way you wish: through yoga or otherwise…
Thanks for reading 🙂