Friday, September 30, 2016

Yoga Strengthens My Core

I admit it – I LOVE Yoga! Incorporating it into my daily life has empowered me to stand tall and speak from the heart.

(c) Arianna Merritt

(c) Arianna Merritt

As you may know, yoga is a very personal practice which makes one stretch myself past their limits, physically and mentally.  Practicing yoga encourages me to persevere and ignore negative thoughts; it empowers me to become the best version of myself.I first was introduced to yoga when I started rowing seven years ago as a way to strengthen my core (i.e., my stomach and back muscles). However, it influenced me in a way that I wasn’t expecting.When I started my practice, I thought yoga was all about the physical body and helping me grow a stronger core.  What I didn’t realize was there was a change that was happening in me: my inner core (my soul) was also strengthening.

It was then that I learned the importance of silencing the inner voices in my mind.  When I started, one of the hardest poses for me was Savasna (a.k.a, corpse pose).  It is the last pose of my yoga practice, where you lie on the ground on your back with your eyes closed.  This seems like the easiest pose, right? However, the purpose of this pose is to calm and centre the mind.

My yoga teacher told me that during this time, I am supposed to quiet the mind and not think about anything.  I found this really difficult, as I’m a thinker and there are always random thoughts running through my head.

The lessons I have learned through my practice of Yoga have also helped me in other areas of my life, such as dealing with my inner critic.  I had listened to my inner critic in the past and let it prevent me from reaching my full potential.

Over time, Savasna has become easier for me and I now look forward to it as a way to challenge myself.  I have learned how to channel my thoughts, silence my mind and my inner critic, and focus on my breathing.  Yoga really does help you overcome stress and perform better.

Being aware of the thoughts that are going on in your mind and focusing on the positive ones are essential lessons for a better life. Instead of a competition with others as rowing is, I love going to yoga as a competition with myself to become the best I can be. It provides me with the fuel I need for life.

I haven’t stopped since and incorporate the lessons I learned into my daily life. Why do you love yoga? I’d love to hear.

A little note from the Editor on the topic of yoga and savasana.  Yoga teachers have an array of training and expertise.  There are many, many ways to learn how to enter into the final pose after a physical yoga practice.  Some techniques are much EASIER than others.  What Arianna mentions above, is actually a really difficult way to enter into savasana — more advanced.  Often, skilled teachers will “walk” participants through a calming, guided meditation, rather than simply ask them to “quiet the mind.”  My point is simply that if you don’t enjoy the final pose in yoga, it may be because you may require a different teaching or meditation method.  Keep trying!  The entire point of a yoga practice is to get to the meditation and enjoy the gift of savasana!

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