Smile. Feeling pain has nothing to do with happiness.

3 months in and yoga is a solid part of my life. My hamstring is completely healed. I have friends with people who go to yoga regularly as well. When I get to class early, I know how to warm up my body so I don’t just sit there waiting for the teacher to come in. And after an hour of pranayamas and asanas, the changes I feel in those 60 minutes are carried throughout the rest of my day.

A stronger body.

I am more flexible. I can do things I hadn’t been able to do since I was a teenager. When I bend forward to touch my toes, I can rest my forehead on my shins. I can do the splits on both sides. I can hold bridge pose for as long as the instructors want us to. Along with being more flexible, I am also stronger. I can hold a chatturanga without collapsing on my mat. After a series of asanas, I can finally breath and rest in downward dog instead of feeling like my arms would give in. Although lunges still make my quads burn, I can hold them with good alignment. In just about every aspect, I can feel that my body is more limber and stronger. And it feels good.

A kinder mind.

With the confidence of a stronger body, I find myself more confident in my day to day comings and goings. I have more patience with others. I have more patience with myself. Even when I have a lot to do, I feel myself being more conscientious with my actions and when I’m with others, I’m not rushing for the conversation to finish. Maybe it’s because I’ve used up all my energy in the yoga studio or maybe it’s because it’s spring. Either way, I feel like I have more energy for other people which, as an introvert, is a really nice feeling.

A different perspective.

There’s a Jivamukti class at my studio a couple times a week. Every time I peer in, it looks like the International Asana Competition. Needless to say, I’ve had a healthy fear of this class and so I’d done my best to take other classes. Until last Tuesday when it was the only class available the morning before I left on a trip to Hong Kong. I was comforted when I realized I knew most of the other girls in class from my other classes. And then the instructor reminds us that in Jivamukti, April is inversion month.

I’ve never spent so much time upside down. As a child who hung upside on monkey boars every chance she got, was a cheerleader in high school and can still do one-handed cartwheels and handstands against walls, I never gave a second thought to being upside down. Until this class wherein the only thing I kept feeling was how scary it felt to be upside down. On my head, one one forearm, in a tripod, on two forearms – something about inversions opens a fear in me. And because I’m me, I took this new feeling as a challenge.

The next day, in a yoga class in Hong Kong, I found myself doing a headstand. 3 months of yoga has turned my life upside down. It has made me noticeably stronger. It has made me think kinder thoughts. It’s been a challenge but it’s changed me. It’s a small change but it’s change nonetheless.

 

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Categories: Lifestyle Style Yoga