‘…and breathe’. The words I need to hear when my shoulders are rigid and tense below my ears. I can’t remember a time outside of yoga where someone has specifically told me to exhale. With the gush of carbon dioxide that flow out of my lungs, I felt the last reserve of toxins coming out. I close my eyes and follow the rhythm of a voice that invited me to extend a leg and ‘whenever you’re ready, find yourself in downward dog’.
This is why I love yoga, the coolness of the mat against the skin of my fingertips and the strength in my body I didn’t know was there come out during my practice. The feeling of letting go of the thoughts I carry with me through the day is liberating on so many levels. The rooms in the nest, the judgement-free moments during class, the quiet hum of the electric lights above have, over the years, become my safe haven.
This is also what drove me to yoga. I remember the sleepless anxious nights during my first year at UBC – the nights where I stay up late studying and finally collapse to the refuge of my bed only to find my eyes wide-open from the tension in my skull and the racing thoughts tomorrow may bring. Something was desperately wrong and I needed to get out. Through yoga, I adopted a habit of mindfulness – one where I have learned to convince myself to be present, to be grounded, to know faithfully and true that the earth is beneath my feet and the sky is above my head. Simple things.
‘…and breathe’. My muscles awake from their slumber and respond instantly to synaptic connections from my brain. Yoga is shown to be an effective stress-reliever making it an important practice for busy people everywhere. The feeling of my mind getting stronger and my body following suit is empowering. Yoga helps remind me that I am in control – even when my circumstances fail me, I have the power within me to change my present realities. I can choose not to dwell on the moments of pain but to look towards what possibilities lie in the future.
Now when I find myself overwhelmed by the copious amounts of work I am obligated to do, or struggle to organize my life I simply close my eyes, take a moment for myself, ‘…and breathe’.
I am glad to be sharing a little taste of my yoga journey through the first post of the year. Looking forward to more yoga stories to come!
Thanks to our monthly sponsor!
The Good Stuff is a Vancouver-based “ready-to-blend” smoothie company, offering the easiest way to eat healthy and organic. They buy their supplies from local growers, including UBC Farm.
They are offering UBC Yoga members 20% off online orders (thegoodstuffco.com), or $1.50 off smoothies in-store at 4515 West 10th. See a yoga club exec to give you a personalized discount card!