There was a time in my life when I almost went down the path to become a yoga teacher. Instead, I opted to focus on having babies, which now I can clearly see was an excuse not to pursue something I loved. Looking back, I can now accept that I didn’t want to expose my insecurities of actually being good enough to teach … and even more, who would want to learn from me, someone who’s not even good enough?
As my head went through this all-too-familiar sequence of telling myself I’m not good enough to try something new, I managed to fall off my personal yoga wagon completely and put my practice on the back burner while I focused on pregnancy …twice. It’s been at least four years since I practiced regularly, and while I don’t regret the time I took to grow little humans in my body, I do regret distancing myself from my practice. I didn’t realize how much I regretted going away from my yoga practice until I recently started coming back.
I took my first yoga class probably over a decade ago. I don’t remember the reason – likely as a desperate way to manage not-yet-diagnosed anxiety. I’m almost certain it took several years for me to become a dedicated and committed yogi. By the time I was running double-digit mileage every week, running half marathons for fun, and finally treating my anxiety with medication, I added yoga to compliment my wellbeing. With it, I discovered several benefits, both physically and mentally.
And now, as I navigate my second postpartum recovery (postpartum recovery lasts the rest of your life after giving birth, doesn’t it?), I’ve opted to integrate yoga back into my life. It looks a bit different now in that I heavily rely on my Peloton subscription for guided yoga flow, but the benefits have been undeniable:
- Yoga helps me relax. Even when I do a flow that gets my heart rate up and sweat glands working, I’m instructed to always, always, always tune into my breath – which brings an immediate sense of calm and focus to the moment.
- Yoga makes me stronger – physically. My 7-month old son is 23 pounds. I need to make sure my body is strong so that I can carry his adorable, but giant, body. Yoga has seriously helped.
- Yoga makes me stronger – mentally. I’m kind of a natural basket-case/worry-wort/constant bundle-of-nerves. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, or life is just getting to be too much, I roll out my mat, start breathing, and flow.
- Yoga makes me realize what matters. Everything else around me stops – the texts, emails, phone calls, meetings, and, yes, sometimes even the kids need to be entertained if I’m not in the right mindset. When it’s time for yoga – my body, breath, and mind are the priority, which is honestly true on and off the mat.
Perhaps one of the best things about yoga is that it’s always there for you and will meet you wherever you are. You don’t need anything other than yourself and an open mind. You don’t need to have a belief that you “can” or “can’t” do yoga – you show up and do what feels right.
There are so many resources if you want to get started at no cost. If you’re looking for any sort of calm (especially during the holidays!), I highly recommend checking out YouTube to see what you think. You might surprise yourself!