I have a bit of a yoga habit. For the past several months, my evenings have been spent twisting myself in an ever-growing number of poses. I'm happy that I’ve found a way to meld personal reflexion and physical exercise into one daily habit: yoga.
After months of noticing my life become increasingly focused, I’ve asked myself whether yoga is the source of these improvements. And I truly think that yoga is the reason that I have more mental energy to focus on writing and my career. I feel like I’ve removed the cloudy layer that surrounded me at all times.
I’m writing this article to explain how yoga has made my life much more organized. Before we dive in, I want to acknowledge that I'm not a yoga expert and my practice is limited to the framework of yoga practiced in commercialized Western studios. When I'm not taking a class, then I watch a YouTube video and stretch in my apartment. Although practicing with the assistance of a teacher can be useful, there are many free yoga resources online.
Here is a list of four ways that my yoga practice has whipped the rest of my life into shape:
- Styles of yoga vary from gentle yin to punishingly hot Bikram. Regardless of what kind of yoga you prefer, you need to properly fuel your body before a class. Simply put, Ashtanga and junk food don't go together. Many yoga-lovers will agree that maintaining a regular practice pushes them to meal prep healthy food and avoid eating out. If I'm right about to take a difficult class then I'll always reach for a piece of fruit instead of a bag of chips.
- Finding enough time to exercise can be hard. I'm the first person to admit that I don't run or lift weights on a regular basis. However, attending a yoga class requires me to check in with my body and reflect on whether I have taken care of myself over the past week. I leave the studio feeling so much better that I immediately start planning my next run or yoga class. And while walking home from the studio, I'll even take a detour if I haven't gotten in my 10k steps that day.
- My stress has been cut in half since January, which has made a significant improvement in my quality of life. I no longer treat anxiety like something that I have to push through and have shifted my thinking to a more preventative approach. When I wake up in the morning and bring my yoga mat to work, I'm already thinking about how I can ensure that I'm mentally prepared for the rest of my day. That might mean scheduling time to myself or leaving work to pick up a salad.
- Given that I now have less stress, I waste a lot less time worrying about what other people think about me. I still listen to input from everyone in my life but their criticism doesn't haunt me for the rest of my week. I feel lighter and more effective because my thought process has been streamlined.
Thanks for reading my reflection on how yoga has made my life more organized! I hope that you will take the time to practice self care, whether that's through taking a yoga class on YouTube, catching up with friends, or getting a good night's sleep.
Kathryn LeBlanc is a digital communications professional and writer living in Ottawa, Canada. Her writing can be found on LinkedIn, Medium, and in Vice.
Tweet at @kat_leblanc to say hello ✌️
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