Did you know that September is National Yoga Month? I know, I know…every month is National Something Month these days…but it’s nice to see a monthly theme that has to do with something positive and happy instead of fatal diseases for once. During National Yoga Month, you can also get free yoga classes at participating studios for one week.
So I thought I’d celebrate. I've dedicated to myself that I will begin a daily yoga practice. This might include a yoga DVD, or taking a class at a great yoga studio I recently found, or if I’m strapped for time I might just do some meditation and gentle stretches for a few minutes in the morning or evening.
I’ve always felt drawn to yoga ever since my mom used to attempt what I thought was a funny looking arabesque when I was a kid, and I would try to copy her. I now know that she was actually doing a variation of Ardha Chandrasana, or Half Moon Pose. Anyway, I’ve written in the past that my strengths in fitness always been in flexibility, core strength, and balance, so yoga has always felt good to me. I can’t say that I’ve been consistent in my practice over the years, but I always wind up going back to yoga.
I also really that yoga is everything I’m looking for now not just for internal health and fitness, but also for my own stress management and spiritual growth. I have a hard time meditating on my own, because I either get distracted or fall asleep. I have found that I get the most benefit from meditation when I experience it during a guided yoga practice or during a class.
The breath work (pranayama) is also very beneficial. In addition, it will help further strengthen my core muscles and spine to relieve my chronic back pain and help to prevent further injuries. Over the past few weeks, I’ve done more yoga consistently than I have in a long time. For the first time since my back spasms started, I’ve started regaining flexibility in the injured area of my spine. That is really big for me.
I also really love the Sanskrit language. It’s the language of vibration, and I find it very soothing. When I was studying Ayurveda, at first I found the Sanskrit terminology very challenging. But then I started to identify patterns and the structure of the language, and the words started to become recognizable. I’m sure I’ll never be fluent, but I like hearing it and saying the words myself. Yoga poses (asanas) are often referred to in English, but I really enjoy hearing them in Sanskrit. It may sound funny, but I feel like I benefit from the asanas more when I’m being guided using the Sanskrit words.
At this point in my own journey, I feel like I’ve finally figured out a few things. I’ve got a good groove going with our routine at home and with the kids’ schedules, my weight has stabilized, and my chronic health conditions have subsided. I’ve also been so fortunate to have the ability to do work that I love, that makes a difference, with a schedule that I can control. I never wanted to feel like I had to choose between being a mom or having a full-time career. Some women are able to do both simultaneously, but I’m just not one of them. It may have taken some time to create the right career for myself since what I was looking for simply does not exist in the corporate world—but I’ve done it.
I’ve admitted in the past that exercise and physical activity has always been a challenge for me. More recently, I’ve found that I love to dance, and I’ve been able to do that more often, in addition to my yoga and Pilates DVDs. Finding a class I really liked helped too, because even though it was a challenge for me in many ways, it pushed me harder and it made me commit. I never thought I was a “class” type person in terms of exercise, but it turns out that the accountability factor with attending a scheduled class works for me.
The timing is also right. I’d like to take a 200 hour yoga teacher training course that begins in May. I found a studio whose program is accredited by the Yoga Alliance, and when I took my first class there I knew I had found the right fit. I loved the ambience, the instructor’s manner, the schedule works well for me, and they also incorporate Ayurveda and Reiki which fits my background very nicely. So between now and May I will have a chance to really prepare for the training and benefit from the yoga while I do the Immersion program at the Institute for IntegrativeNutrition. Come May, I will be in a much better state to start the teacher training.
Why the teacher training? Why not just practice yoga?
In case you couldn’t tell, I love to learn. I’m a lifelong learner for sure. While I enjoy the breathing and the meditations and the asanas alone, I feel that I would benefit more and become much more skilled if I learn more about yoga tradition and history. I can’t just do…I need to know the “how” and the “why”. Reading books and articles online and watching DVDs won’t get the job done for me—I need an actual teacher. So even though I plan on incorporating yoga into my health coaching programs (I already recommend yoga to all of my clients anyway—it would be much easier to be able to just show them myself if they are local), this training really is for my own personal enrichment, self care, and spiritual growth.
I feel really good about this. The timing feels right, I found the right program and studio/teacher, and it fulfills many of my needs at this point in my life. Wish me luck!