Over the past year much of my health and wellness focus had centered around food. I successfully cut out caffeine for extended periods of time and, for the most part, let go of all dairy (eggs included). While these goals have been very important, I knew that I needed to balance diet with some sort of physical activity. Stress management was also an essential component to wellness but I found excuses not to incorporate it into daily life. I was busy! I was putting in many extra hours at work, planning lots of get togethers with friends, and meeting a range of characters through an online dating site. I had no time to exercise!
Then I found myself in an emotional tizzy, which forced me to reconsider my lifestyle choices.
I will spare the details that caused the upset with exception to say that it involved a boy and resulted in emotional-turned-severe physical symptoms that lasted for almost a week. I was in limbo and felt isolated. I let my thoughts, feelings and emotions take over my body to the extent that I thought I'd have to go to the ER. I couldn't believe how sick I got from the stress. This extreme bodily response was my wake-up call, prompting me to seek a mind/body balance and to take ownership of my health.
During that week, while still very unsettled, I starting doing yoga and guided relaxations. Every day and night I set time aside to be calm, centered, and present. My mind still wandered about the situation that instigated my condition but I was nonetheless regimented in activities geared towards stability and my body's well-being.
It's only been three weeks since the start of my regular yoga practice. I am hooked! In the first week I saw noticeable differences including increased flexibility, improved muscletone, and most importantly, feeling happier, healthier, grounded, stronger and more at peace. I am typically on my mat for 25 minutes every morning and night. Doing a little to begin and end the day leaves me feeling more awake, energetic and centered throughout the day and more relaxed and calm in the evening.
My favorite yoga routine thus far can be found on the DVD Crazy Sexy Cancer, a documentary about one inspiring woman's search for a cure. Bonus features include the 25 minute yoga practice as well as a 15 minute guided relaxation with Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman. I highly recommend this yoga routine for it's simple instruction, compilation of poses, accessibility and for its effectiveness.
One of the statements in the film that stuck with me and motivates me to continue my yoga practice (and other forms of movement) comes from Yogeswari, a world-renowned yoga instructor. I presume she had said this during a class that specifically addressed symptoms of serious health conditions and the effects of yoga on these conditions.
"One of the major factors which cause disease has to do with lack of oxygenation to certain body parts. Everything in this Universe is vibration. Molecular cellular atomic particles vibrate."
Movement is vibration.
Movement is medicine.
Movement is life-affirming.
Yoga is my mode and it's got me high on life and good vibrations!
For more information on yoga and its effects on health, check out the National Institutes of Health.