I recently concluded an entire month of attending yoga classes at my neighborhood studio.  I wanted to do a quasi-experiment to see if I would notice any changes, physically or emotionally, after one month – I went five times a week, with each class typically lasting anywhere from 60-90 minutes.  In attempting to find my niche, I tried almost every style available at the studio:  Kundalini, Yin/Meditation, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Restorative, Phoenix Rising therapy, and Anusara. 

The most important realization I've come to is just how deep our mind-body connection goes; everything that affects us emotionally also affects us on a cellular level and is stored somewhere in the body.  Think about how you react physically when you get upset: most of us will clench our jaws, tighten our fists, etc.  Through some of the more intense poses, especially hip openers, I've been able to release some long-held emotions about people or events and then move on from it.  It's been incredibly eye-opening, cathartic, and empowering.

Here are some of the other benefits I've experienced:

*more awareness of my appetite and the things I choose to eat

*a leaner and more fit feeling in my body, as well as a feeling of alignment and better posture

*progressive ability to be calm and remain in uncomfortable situations, trusting that they will pass

*increased ability to practice mindfulness and observe my thoughts

I've really enjoyed this past month, and I feel this is only the beginning of the journey.  If you're experiencing self-doubt, high stress, anxiety, confusion, or maybe want some time to just be … I highly recommend giving yoga a try.

 

"On this path effort never goes to waste, and there is no failure.  Even a little effort toward spiritual awareness will protect you from the greatest fear."

-Bhagavad Gita

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