I took up yoga after starting school at Oregon State. At the time I was weak and tired from a constant battle with an eating disorder and needed a form of exercise that was gentle on my body but provided me with an opportunity to strengthen my muscles (and my mind, but I didn’t know that yet.)
For 19 years my body had been building up muscle, but I think many would be shocked to see how fast muscles deteriorate when you are not feeding them. In just two years my muscles were gone, or at least too weak to do much besides walk short distances. At that point in my disorder I wanted to get better, I wanted to get stronger and healthier, and though I didn’t have an appetite, I was making an effort to eat. By the way, it took a lot of work and time to get to that point in my mental state. I’ll write more about that in coming posts.
Like most new experiences, yoga was intimidating at first. I have long legs, long torso, long arms, a long neck (much like a giraffe), and I never had good balance (I blame my small feet), which contributed to my insecurities.
Yoga for beginners is focused on form and breathing. What I find so advantageous about yoga is that you do not need to be good at it to find peace. While practicing you get lost in your own body, you get lost in your own breath, and before you even know it everything that was weighing on you before, disappears.
There is something incredible about the ability to clear your mind of its surroundings. But like anything, meditation takes time and practice.
This is a timeout for our spirit and mind. For me it’s like pressing pause on my stress and worry, allowing me to walk away, make some popcorn, grab a root beer, and come back a little more ready than before.
Confession: Sometimes while meditating, I become aware that my mind is clear and accidentally startle myself back into the present physical plane. If it happens to you too, just go back to focusing on your movement and breath.
You do not regret the time you spend getting lost in your own controlled breath. It’s like falling slowly in the middle of a bright fluffy cloud that is able to hold your weight in the sky.
Your turn: Do you mediate or practice yoga? Share your favorite poses, tips or even confessions in the comments.