I stepped into a yoga studio in 2019, scared that I wasn’t a sculpted acrobat and would be falling all over my rented mat. At the time I was a stressed out nursing school student with knots of tension in my shoulders and was looking for an hour of relaxation.
“Set one goal for today’s class,” the instructor said as we started, “hold each pose for one more second, try a new pose, focus on your breath,” and so on.
How the hell do you focus on your breath? It is an involuntary action that we do 22,000 times a day which I don’t put much thought into. There was synchronicity between the inhale and exhales that flowed with each movement on the mat. It was like my body was working together and not fighting or resisting for the first time that I could consciously remember.
In and out. Focusing on my breath during movements is what took my body and mind to a moving meditative state, that is yoga. On Episode 20 with Julianna Curtis, she discussed with Shannon how yoga and movement in general can be meditation. For some it can be sitting in silence for 10 minutes, acknowledging and dismissing thoughts and for others it can be on a mat in a sweating room trying to match their breath to each movement called out by an instructor.
Yoga has created a link between my internal and external worlds. I sweat out my stress, acknowledge thoughts that pass through my mind, and guide my practice back to my breathing and synchronicity to my body. As dramatic as it sounds; yoga changed my VIEW on life. Take every second, every breath, every hour, every day at a time.
A mat in a 85 degree room has become my space to heal, grow, and learn. I’ve pushed my body to strengthen and feel what it needs to nurture. My mind has been opened to different perspectives and stories told by instructors. The soul my body houses now has the tools to lean into myself each time I step onto the mat.
It all starts with a single breath and the intention to focus on it.