This is a big deal for me. As someone who barely reaches the 5-foot mark, I usually feel little…small. But after about 5 weeks of practicing yoga 3-4 times a week, I really do feel strong. This isn’t my first foray into yoga. I discovered it during my years as an undergrad as a way to alleviate the stress I felt from my Organic Chemistry and Calculus classes. Since then, I’ve practiced on and off over the years. But lately, the last few years especially, it’s been mostly off. So now, five weeks later, I’m feeling good. Apart from making me feel strong, it’s made me a better runner and most of all, it has helped bring a sense of mindfulness that I’ve been sorely missing these past few months.
I am a very anxious person, and these sessions on my mat have made a world of difference to my mental health. Focusing on yourself and your breathing, the connection between mind and body, can seem scary at first. Especially for someone who can’t stand to be quiet or still for a moment, lest their floodgates split open and their worries come flooding out in a big rush. But once you let that fear subside, maybe acknowledge those thoughts briefly and then let them go, even if only for that hour, you can truly appreciate the control you have over your body. Your body can do amazing things if you give it a chance. The highlight of my week involved my roommate and I squatting around the living room last weekend and suddenly hitting Hurdlers Pose. Even now, it brings a smile to my face. I never would have thought myself capable of that a few weeks ago.
I’m still working off those winter pounds that crept up on me (they actually starting accumulating in Fall…) but they feel less important right now. When I look in the mirror I see someone who looks happy, confident, and I swear, taller than their 5’0 height would suggest. I know yoga has a lot to do with it.