"When God has so magnificently and artistically created this body, it only fits that we should maintain it in good health and harmony by the most excellent and artistic science of yoga"-Geeta Iyengar.
Yoga changed my life. I have heard this statement many times by my fellow yogis and instructors but, it truly could not have rescued a more broken and battered soul than my own.
I began my yoga journey during my husband's rookie year in the NFL. I was overwhelmed, tired, borderline depressed, frustrated and very confused about what I wanted out of my life. It was evident that my purpose in life was not clear and my faith in Christ was not as strong as it needed to be. I was lost.
One fall morning in September 2012, my dear friend Lana Cook invited me to my first Bikram hot yoga class. Upon accepting her invitation, I was grateful to have fellowship with someone from a similar background and little did I know that she would grow into one of my best friends, and this practice would be one to change my life for the better.
When I entered the warm and humid room of Hot Yoga Plus, a premier yoga studio located in Nashville, TN, prior to completing my first asana (Sanskrit for yoga pose)— I said to myself, “I am going to become an instructor.” There is power in the tongue and the universe listens because two years later, I was employed by Hot Yoga Plus as a certified yoga teacher.
After my first class, I was addicted. Leaving the studio I was obsessed with the mental challenges that yoga imposed, the sweaty postures and the amazing feeling of accomplishment after tackling and accepting 60 minutes of pure HEAT.
During the class I felt overwhelmed, uncomfortable, tired, exhausted but in all these feelings was the strongest emotion of pure gratitude. Throughout my seven years of practice, the most profound lesson that yoga has taught me is that in order to grow mentally, physically and spiritually, we MUST step outside of our comfort zones.
As we mature into adulthood, the more afraid we are to do things differently. We sometimes feel trapped or forced to remain stagnant. We must accept that throughout our journey, moments of stress, frustration, confusion and uncertainty will exist, sometimes in abundance, but in order to appreciate our growth and truly welcome the feelings of joy, success, satisfaction, peace and accomplishment then we must go through the discomfort of growth.
Many of these simple emotions parallel those of football life. As we close out my husbands 7th season in the NFL, I feel so grateful for every single struggle. For every moment of stress and uncertainty. It made us level up and grow up and stay prayed up.
We have overcome the frustration of injuries, uncertainty of staff changes, the disappointment of consecutive losing seasons, the triumph of starting and being successful, the annoyance of abrupt cuts and changing teams mid-season. We have celebrated the triumph of winning and being playoff bound coupled with the sadness of being so close to Superbowl but not quite making it “all the way.”
These life lessons have changed our family for the better and have molded us into stronger resilient servants of Christ. My yoga journey and faith in Christ have allowed me to somewhat remain sane through it all. So, I encourage you to try yoga, try meditation and implement both it into your routine. Allow yourself to grow.
5 Tips for implementing a Namaste into your Day
Meditation, unlike many physical fitness routines and fads, yoga has withstood time because it is mental therapy. It's about aligning the energy of the mind and body and conquering the noise in your head that can derail us from greatness. Mediation is a huge component of a true yoga practice. Mediation can be done in the mornings, lunch breaks, bathroom breaks, any time of complete stillness where you can re-enter your thoughts and quiet your mind. For beginners, use apps like Calm or Headspace or just give yourself 10-15 mins of quiet time a day.
Find a studio that teaches different classes with an array of yoga styles. Also, many studios offer free first-time drop-in classes. If you don't like a studio then try another one. Remain open-minded that you may do or see things that are totally foreign to your typical workout routine and that is ok.
Be comfortable with looking crazy. In a good yoga community, the core value of any class is no judgment. But let's be real, stepping into a new environment with flexible people, doing handstands, balancing on their elbows and pinky toes and embracing the sweat can be a little intimidating. It sadly let's be real the first thing beginner yoga students do is compare their lack of skill or familiarity with the practice. In a healthy yoga class, there is no competition, no judgment and the only person you have to be better than is the person that you were yesterday.
Try it with a friend. Yoga is much more fun when you have a friend to sweat with. This way you guys can lean on each other. It may also encourage you that you are only
Love yourself and your yoga journey!
Edited by Joy Davis