The After-Yoga Effect

Don’t you just love that feel-good ambience after finishing a relaxing yoga class? I always feel so refreshed, rejuvenated, and able to re-focus onto the tasks of my day ahead. I love how I can incorporate self-awareness and mindfulness into a daily yoga practice, eliminating any negativity and judgements of thoughts. Knowing that this ancient practice is in fact a mind-body movement meditation, it allows me to let go of my day thus far, release any tensions and worries I may have, and simply be in the present moment. Personally, I find yoga an excellent tool for self-care and a useful way to de-stress.

Photo by Cedric Lim Ah Tock on Pexels.com

“It’s not about being good at something, it’s about being good to yourself.

Practicing yoga is about tending to your mind, body, and spirit all at once. When you’re setting aside time to care for your mind and body, the focus should not be on perfecting a certain pose, or comparing yourself to the way another person looks during a pose. When you are on your mat, it is your place to embrace the person you are today and appreciate the way your body serves you. Even if you don’t get all the movements quite right and may need to take extra breaks throughout the class, you should still congratulate yourself and be proud for showing up! In the end, it doesn’t matter how you do yoga, it’s the fact that you do it. Yoga allows you to slow down, marry your movement with your breath, and just be. It allows for moments of gratitude, awareness, and self-appreciation.

When we really try to listen to our breath during our day-to-day moments, including during yoga or any kind of meditation, have you ever noticed that our deep inhalations and exhalations sound very much like the ocean? If you haven’t noticed yet, I encourage you to try it! Using your breath as your anchor, close your eyes and bring your mind to focus on your rhythmic belly breathing. Sit for a few minutes at a time and simply listen….every inhale and exhale resembles the waves of the ocean, rising and falling in a continuous cycle. The sound itself is meditative and relaxing. If you add in movement, you will notice that the wave of your breath is still there. It is always present- in good times, in bad, and throughout our entire lives. We can always choose to focus back to our breath, we can use our internal anchor to create a sense of calm and stillness within ourselves.

“You can see yourself as simply a wave in the ocean – or you can see yourself as the ocean.”

The next time you decide to listen to your breath, whether that’s simply taking a mindful couple of deep breaths or while practicing a yoga class, perhaps you can think to yourself…do I see myself as a simple wave, or the entire ocean? I hope you can find the courage, strength, and empowerment in recognizing that you are the ocean. You are wonderfully capable, strong, worthy, and loved. You have everything you need inside you to heal from stress and hardship. You can use your body through yoga and breath for self-healing, nurture, and care.

I encourage and challenge you to see yourself as the ocean, to use your natural breath, and to chase after that wonderful after-yoga feeling of weightlessness, freedom, empowerment, and serenity.

Always,

Paula

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