Friday, February 4, 2011

Clearing out the Mind Clutter on and off the Mat

It was some time during Savasana, the meditation part of a yoga class during my freshman year of college, when I realized yoga could possibly save my life.

Well,  I realized it could save me from completely caving in to the anxiety and stress constantly trying to take over my life. My year at Stetson was a tough transition from high school because the public school in Georgia did not prepare me well for the endless term papers, non-multiple choice exams and hundreds of pages of reading every day. Not to mention, I was under the impression I had to join a sorority and the majority of the girls in my dorm were bitches. I also decided to run collegiate cross-country that year, a decision I would have laughed about in high school.

No wonder I was stressed out! All of these new things were happening in my life and I was in a place where I did not really feel at home. I finally came to the conclusion that sororities and Stetson were not for me, but yoga was there helping me to get through that year without allowing myself to become depressed.

As a true believer in exercise reducing stress and calming my mind, I took advantage of all of the classes Stetson offered in their gym. I started going to a yoga class twice a week. This was not yoga on crack- it was challenging, yet more about relaxing and being in the present moment. That is where I came to the realization- yoga can't take away all of the so-called problems or struggles but it can help in detaching from them and stopping obsession over them.

As a person who is constantly asking, "What is going to happen?"... yoga helps me to release the need to control what will happen and to ride the waves of life without getting bogged down in my mind's worries. I know there are a lot of people out there who dwell on the past, worry and wonder about the future, but live halfway in the moment. After all, we are human and our minds like to latch on to the constant hustle and bustle of thoughts and a lot of the time, worries.

But with yoga, I have learned to accept the worries of potential future problems and not let them overcome me because, well, they are not even real! And as far as the past goes, it helps me to be more grateful and less regretful for what God has given me. And the most important part, the present, is much easier to stay in when I allow my yoga practice to spill in to the rest of my life. I have to be present in yoga class, or else, I will fall over or lose my pose. And outside of my practice, I apply that same principle, and when I do not, I lose my balance- my emotions and thoughts are scattered. Yoga can be a way of life not just a part of life spent on a rubber mat. 

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