Last week in yoga class, a woman made an off hand comment about the size of our class. Apparently, the popularity of a once barren Yin class had been growing exponentially since the election. Once empty rooms had begun to fill and stayed filled throughout the year. People were apparently in desperate need of stress relief!
We all had a chuckle at the growing popularity of slow yoga and meditations classes. But joking aside, it has really highlighted a personal pattern as well.
As my own world spins out of control, I’ve leaned more and more on yoga as a reliable constant. The nature of my practice has changed. Once I only cared about sweat inducing flows and power moves. Now my preference is for more methodical body control and a mastery of balance. To be clear, I still practice uptempo sweat inducing yoga. I just don’t focus on this style alone. I am remembering the most important aspect of yoga. To Breathe.
Gradually Yoga has shifted from an optional form of exercise to the primary role. Where I used to look upon yoga as a great supplement to some other fitness routine (ie. running with yoga on an off day, weightlifting with yoga sessions for mobility), the positions have flipped.
Yoga is not my side chick;
it is my main chick!
I’ve now come to rely on yoga for the full spectrum of health and fitness. Muscular, cardiovascular, stress relief, pain relief, and just plain focus. Maybe this is the natural progression path for all (western) yogis. You start for the physical benefits and stay for the mental.
The purposeful work on mental fitness and anxiety control have made me a happier person. Exercising for physical aesthetics alone is exhausting and never-ending. But the added irony? A more relaxed approach has actually yielded better physical results for me. I’ve had more energy to enjoy the fruits of my labor. Time has been freed up to enjoy other hobbies, like my art and biking. I live a more active lifestyle outside of the gym. The gym life is still a requirement to me living in a desert (hard to run outside in triple digits)—but getting outside leaves you more fulfilled.
Go outside and breathe deep. You can not help but to feel more relaxed.
I don’t claim to have all stress under control. Not by a long shot. But small tweaks in how I view my fitness regime have really helped me. I’d be interested to know how other people have been coping with anxiety. What fitness changes have you made in your life? If you feel like sharing, drop a comment.
Breathe Deep friends,