By Lisa Barone
My stars were feeling out of alignment. There was definitely a full moon rising in the south that was weighing me down. I also felt my chakras needed unclogging so I could develop a new vision. With all these inner and outer forces surrounding me, I realized I needed to change.
Still keeping true to my religion, I sought out trying different modalities for inner strength. Fortunately, a couple of hot yoga facilities in the area were offering deals for new students. I did not realize what I was getting myself into. “Yoga, no problem,” I thought, “just stretching,” trying to motivate myself to try the class. Well, I never realized the challenges I was about to face.
Actually, I did not enjoy my new experience with hot yoga at all. I was a clueless novice, definitely the most inept in class, collapsing into child pose and praying that the class would soon be over. It was grueling being in the oppressive heat and trying to hold the poses. Being a practical Virgo, I kept thinking of all the more productive things I could be doing that were on my to-do list.
As I was leaving, everyone looked so content, happy and fulfilled. I truly did not get it. Sharing my feelings with an instructor, I was told that they wanted to simulate India. I told them it felt more like Afghanistan.
They say three times is a charm. I decided to stay with it because I signed up for the 10-day introductory offer. On the third day walking home from the yoga class, I was filled with inner peace. It was an amazing feeling. Yoga is not a religion and means the union of the body and mind. Mentally, emotionally, physically and even spiritually, I felt connected. Never being good at meditation, yoga brought me there. It gave me a feeling of inner strength, clarity and awareness.
My back problems went away because my inner core was strengthened. I even felt my vertebrae click back into place when I was in the down dog position. My sleep improved and I felt more refreshed in the morning. I even dropped a dress size. My balance and strength improved immensely with challenging myself to hold on to the poses. Yoga helped relieve my arthritis pain and stiffness. I was hooked and decided to get my yoga certification.
Yoga/meditation is being taught in some inner city schools to help students be more alert and give them an awareness of the choices they are making. Teachers notice how this has an effect on calming their students down so it makes it easier to redirect their attention. Rehab centers use it for addicts to heal while in recovery. Anxious thoughts are replaced with empowerment and self-love in doing something good for themselves.
Studies reflect the many medical health benefits such as: a calming effect on your central nervous system to fight stress, an increase in GABA neurotransmitters which helps control depression and anxiety and strengthening of neural communication in the prefrontal lobe and other areas in the brain.
Most yoga practices consists of 26 basic poses or asanas. This makes it very easy to be creative and develop a routine that you can practice at home. I enjoy starting my mornings in front of my sun therapy lamp with a 10-minute yoga routine. Actually, my best yoga workout was with the 1-year-old baby girl I would care for. She liked doing a simple routine with me and it would always end in the “happy baby” pose. In this ever-changing world we live in, why not give it a try? Namaste!
Lisa Barone found a sense of strength, clarity and awareness through yoga.