Yoga is changing my life. I make that statement wholeheartedly with no intentions of being dramatic. I can feel the positive benefits from my yoga classes lasting well beyond my time spent in the studio. My brain seems to be getting rewired to an even deeper state of non-reactivity in comparison to what my meditation practice had been previously doing for me. I am enjoying an increased sense of compassion for and connectedness to others.
I also seem to be finally processing stubborn emotional remnants from past rough patches of life that occurred over a decade ago. While I had dealt with these issues at great length in talk therapy, there still seemed to remain some sort of physical embodiment of these past hardships. Psychotherapy was an incredible tool for pulling me out and away from crisis, but subtle reminders of these life challenges lingered in my core somewhere. These lingering elements of my past could creep up from time to time in current situations, but it seems that yoga has now rendered them gone for good.
The challenging physical activity coupled with the focused mindset of yoga was able to reach those few remaining shards of my unprocessed angst and burn them all away.
I am using the imagery of burning away past difficulties because I am recalling a rather powerful moment for me during a yoga class. We were mired in a highly challenging pose that involved a deep squat being held for what felt like an eternity.
The pose was rather intense on the core muscles of my body. Our instructor encouraged us in that moment to identify anything troubling in our lives or anything that has been holding us back in life. They then asked us to place that impediment directly in the fire of our bellies to be burned away for good.
Over a decade ago, I had emotionally bottomed out. It was akin to a nervous breakdown. While I had dealt with that crisis at the time through psychotherapy, I was still holding onto to some emotional pain from that situation.
In that yoga class, burning up with body heat and shaking from the intensity of the pose, I placed the story of my emotional collapse into the burning pit of my core. It felt as if it vanished immediately in that moment. Whatever I was holding onto was released for good and was freed from my being.That pose and the physical challenge for my body, along with the compassionate coaching from my instructor, felt like they freed something from deep inside of me that years of therapy could not do.
I have experienced, and I think science now documents, that the mind and body are inextricably linked. To forego caring for one will eventually negate the other. Yoga presents the perfect blend of proactive care for both.
The gentle reminding from instructors to breathe and stay present in addition to the strenuous activity create positive impacts that last well beyond the time spent on the yoga mat.
I have felt my mind getting rewired from yoga. I am less reactive personally and professionally. I feel myself becoming more connected with humanity. My meditation at home seems to get to a deeper place now, earlier in the sessions as well.
It does not matter what kind of strain, stress, or troubles I walk into the yoga studio with, as they all melt away during class. I walk out of that studio in pure bliss every time, almost akin to a mild psychedelic state.
The leaves on the trees seem to shimmer with a bit more color and the sun’s rays seem to shine brighter. That peaceful feeling and connectedness to everything around you are palpable exiting a yoga class. It carries onward throughout the day as well.
For a few years, I thought I was doing yoga at home. I would set up a mat in my kitchen and follow along a YouTube video. Then I got the notion to actually attend a class in a yoga studio. From that very first class, I realized what I was doing prior, alone in my home, was nowhere near the true experience of yoga. From the tranquil atmosphere of the building itself, the communal aspect of classmates, and the personal teachings from the instructor, attending class in an actual studio was impactful on a whole other level.
If you are a guy and are perhaps a little leery or unsure about visiting a yoga studio that is understandable. I have felt nothing but welcomed, though, in getting acclimated to my studio.I have such respect for the warm and community-centric atmosphere the owners and staff have created at the studio I attend. I want to make sure I am doing my part to only contribute to the culture and never at all diminish from it.
The yoga studio I attend is Yoga Home in Conshohocken, PA, which is the suburbs of Philly. I have no business relationship with them and they are not sponsoring this content. I am simply referring them because of how incredible my experience has been there. It is first-class and welcoming in every manner.
Yoga has been a gamer changer for my life. I am so thankful I took an action step and joined an actual studio despite some nerves. The in-person environment with classmates and an instructor can not be replicated at home following videos.
I would highly suggest looking into your local yoga studio and inquiring about an introductory new student offer. You stand to gain some considerable benefits physically, mentally, and emotionally. Namaste.
This post was published by Michael, one of our student’s. It was originally published on Michael’s Blog “Still Feel 21.” We are so grateful for his beautifully written blog, glowing review and his candidness. We admire his work on and off the mat.