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COMPARISON AND JUDGEMENT BE GONE

Over time with practice, I began to pay more attention to my breathing. I was able to flow more easily from pose to pose. I didn’t compare or judge myself against anyone else in the room. In fact, I began to compare and judge myself less even off the mat. I began to take the practice of awareness and mindfulness and stretching and giving space to thoughts and feelings from the yoga studio into my daily life.

In addition, I could actually begin to feel things in my body that were previously unknown to me. For instance, I now notice how shallow my breathing gets when I feel rushed and stressed. I notice how my mind races out of control when I feel the need to resolve a problem right now. I notice the "edge of growth moments," like the uncertainties that come with imagining a new job and career: I began to stand there for a moment and balance and breathe into the unknown, then come back to "the child’s pose" of the comfort zone of daily routines, knowing that change will come at a time when I need it most (see "The Three Hardest Words for Healthcare Professionals"). I have learned that my mind and body are meant to be in constant communication. Because of yoga, I have come to truly understand the meaning of balance—not just "work-life balance" but the balance among body, mind, and spirit—the true and wise self that resides deep within the psyche.

"I don’t know of any other activities where I can strengthen my body, mind, and spirit in the same hour, the way I can during yoga."

TAKE A CHANCE ON YOGA

Looking back, I am so grateful for taking a chance with that first yoga class in 2018. I am still a "baby yogi," but I have come a long way. I have been practicing yoga three to four times a week consistently for the last five years—the longest I have spent with any sort of exercise program. The beauty of yoga is found in the combined emphasis on physical strength and flexibility, as well as the simultaneous focus on meditation, breathing, and spiritual clarity. I don’t know of any other activities where I can strengthen my body, mind, and spirit in the same hour, the way I can during yoga. The benefits of yoga go well beyond the few hours I spend in class each week. I feel younger, stronger, and healthier than I have in years. I have more energy and motivation in all areas of my life. I hope to continue practicing yoga for as many years as possible.

If you have ever wondered about yoga and if it might be a good fit for you, I strongly encourage you to experiment and try it out. If the first class or studio is not a perfect fit, there are many other forms and types of yoga which will move you forward on your wellness journey. Keep searching for and trying different yoga studios until you find one that’s right for you. Listen to your heart and gut. They will lead you to the place you need to be. I especially recommend yoga for two groups of people with whom I have much experience and to whom I feel a strong connection:


MY PRACTICE

I practice yoga through Cleveland Yoga, an affiliate partner of Baptiste Yoga. Baptiste Yoga was founded in the 1940s by Walt Baptiste and popularized in the United States by his son Baron. In his book Journey into Power, Baron Baptiste outlines the 53 poses (asanas) that are linked together by connective momentum. The five classical pillars of Baptiste Yoga are

  • Drishti (gaze)
  • Ujjayi (breath)
  • Bandhas (foundation)
  • Tapas (heat)
  • Vinyasa (flow)

RESOURCES


 

Editing by Paul M. Kubek of PMK Consulting, LLC.

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