How This Mama Stays Well During The Holidays
With the busy holiday season quickly approaching, it’s so easy to get lost in the hustle of it all. There is so much that goes into the holidays from purchasing the perfect gifts to cooking the delectable dishes that bring your family and friends closer. It’s sometimes hard to remember to care for yourself during this busy time of the year.
That’s why prioritizing your health during the holiday season is so vital.
For me, exercise is not only about the physical changes my body goes through but the mental clarity I gain through the process. It’s the practice that I love so much; not just the end result. It’s the powerful connection of the mind and body that takes me to places I have yet to explore.
On my mat, I am most mindful of what my body needs and my mind years to understand. It’s the strength and wisdom that comes from pushing my body and my mind past places I didn’t think I could go. It keeps me centered on what is most important in my life and letting go of the things I cannot control to let in what will be. The time spent on the mat gives me the fuel I need to start each day with an open mind. When I leave everything on the mat, there is nothing left to wonder about.
The time I spend on my mat keeps me grounded in my true self while working to become the very best version of me.
We all know that movement is vital to the body; just like gaining knowledge is vital to the brain. It’s not what exercise you do that’s important; it’s finding an exercise that works best for you. For a long time, I would run mile after mile. I loved running. It was a way to clear my head from the busyness of my day. I left each run depleting myself to the point of exhaustion. Everything that I was worrying about or stressing about was washed away with every mile that was completed. The problem was I never stopped moving. I never allowed my body the rest that it so desperately needed. The world needed to stop moving so that I could find answers in the stillness of life.
That’s when a friend introduced me to yoga. It launched me into something I had never done before. At age 33, I was both excited and nervous to try this new practice out and what it would bring to my life. I yearned to feel more peace and stillness in my life. I longed to have my physical body connected to my inner body. My mind craves the tranquility that the practice gives me. Practicing yoga regularly has become an integral part of my life.
What started as a new habit transformed into an automatic behavior which resulted in a permanent lifestyle change.
There are many holistic benefits that yoga provides for the mind and body. Yoga allows the body and the mind to meet in unison through stretching, breathing, awareness and flowing. The strength of the practice comes from holding poses, deep breathing techniques and self-discovery. At a basic level, yoga increases blood flow, strength, flexibility, stability, and posture. Yoga increases blood flow to different parts of the body especially if you are practicing in a heated room. The body gets stronger by practicing yoga consistently. The more you practice the more flexible you will become.
When I started yoga, my three legged dog wasn’t a pretty sight. Through continual practice and dedication, it has dramatically improved. Holding poses for a length of time tests your stability by pushing you to the edge. That's when your body adapts and changes. Furthermore, practicing yoga has improved my posture and how I sit at my desk during the day.
Yoga also helps strengthen the pelvic floor muscles which are in charge of the bladder. Unlike most exercises, yoga offers the benefit of practicing inversions (handstands & headstands) which alleviates pressure on the body and increases blood flow to the brain. Testing new limits and finding new ways of exploration is what I love most about the practice.
At another level, yoga improves self-esteem, confidence, energy and provides stress-management tools. We all want to feel good about ourselves. We should always be our own cheerleader. We can love ourselves for who we are and who we want to become.
It’s an excellent stress management tool and helps me be patient with myself and those around me.
Yoga makes you sweat, raises your heart rate and releases dopamine (which releases happy emotions). The more you practice, the better you feel. We have known for a long time that exercising provides your body with energy. That’s why it’s important to take a walk or move your body throughout the day so you don’t get sluggish sitting in one spot.
Yoga is a beautiful practice that honors and recognizes the uniqueness of every person, it is welcoming and inclusive, filled with rituals and a deep history. It’s a transformative process that if done consistently will change your mind and body forever. There is wisdom in stillness. There is knowledge in calmness. There is understanding in the dark. There is transformation through practice.
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