Have you heard of “mindfulness”? Do you know what it means? I didn’t quite know what this fully meant until this year. Mindfulness is being present in the moment, and being conscious and accepting one’s feelings and thoughts.
I am a beginner yogi – yogi in training if you will. I have been since 2014 where I will randomly take classes with my friends at local studios. Over the past year, I have been more consistent in my yoga practice, where I have had spurts of consistently attending classes and then even practicing at home. I am not flexible by any means where my entire life I probably haven’t stretched. I never was into gymnastics, still can’t do a cartwheel, and only recently can I touch my fingers to my toe (standing up only!). I played softball and basketball my whole life and in these sports, it did not require flexibility.
I tried yoga for my first time by doing a hot yoga class with one of my friends. She was going pretty regularly and her friend was running the class. I caught on pretty quickly with the poses and the flow of it all. I ended up really liking it! For me, it started out to be more of just another way to workout. It was during a time where I was trying out a bunch of different workout classes. I did classes sporadically until about a year and a half ago, where I really wanted to start incorporating yoga into my work out practice. From reading all of the health benefits, physically and mentally, I wanted to try this out even more. I was very unhappy with my weight that I had put on, and because I run a lot, I thought this would also help me stretch out my body too.
I ended up developing a piriformis muscle issue, and it was hard to bend and hard to sit in an office for eight hours a day. In case you don’t know what it is, here it is blow. It is deep, deep within your glute. Very hard to massage and most times, stretching is how to get rid of it. I had lots of lower back pain and tight muscles in my leg.
By taking yoga consistently for 5 weeks in a row, this issue has completely disappeared. The stretching and the development of these muscles made a world of difference.
This year, I set out to become more mindful. There are various ways that one can practice mindfulness. Most importantly, I wanted to take care of my body and myself because I have spent the last few years with struggling to lose weight and that has created some pretty negative feelings inside of me. I needed to take a step back and realize what my body has gotten me through, and becoming more mindful of myself and self-love will help me conquer my negative thoughts.
Yoga, to me is something that I always go back to. I am not consistent, but I want to be. Every time I take part in a yoga session, whether it is with my friends in a class or at home by myself, I immediately have my mood turn around. If you are stressed, sad, upset, mad, or have any sort of negative feelings, yoga is a game changer. There are amazing health benefits, both physically and mentally.
Last week, I started a yoga challenge for myself and for several others to do 31 days of yoga in a row. This is also meant to practice mindfulness and finally just to love yourself even more than you already do. Yoga and being more “mindful” go together. Both are about being present in the moment. The practice of yoga is being self aware and aware of how your body feels. I want to continue this practice and be more consistent within myself with not only yoga, but with being more mindful as well.
I challenge you to become more mindful within yourself. With everything you do during the day, be present in that moment. Do you drink coffee in the morning? Take that first sip and focus on the smell, the taste and how it makes you feel. When you go outside, notice nature. Notice the smell of the air, the wind or the warmth of the sun. We are so busy these days, that we are always thinking of the next task on our list. Most of us are hardly present mentally in our lives where we are always trying to get our task lists done quickly. We need to make time for our mental health, and focus on being present. Keeping a journal of one positive thing each day will also help as well.
If yoga is something that you don’t believe to be your thing, I would love for you to practice mindfulness. Not only has yoga helped me overcome stress and sadness, but it has helped with so many ailments with my muscles so if you haven’t tried it yet, I also encourage you to do so. If you want to join my ongoing yoga and mindful challenge, I would love to have you a part of it too! You can join the group here.
Until next time – thank you for reading!