I have been practicing yoga for 16 years and have been a certified yoga instructor for 5. Yoga has always been an important part of my life. The deeper I've dove into my practice, the better and more balanced my life has been. Yoga is a tool for change that roots from compassion and connection. It helps us call to awaken to suffering and take action in response, creating a peaceful, just global community.
There have been a few times in my life where I have strayed from my yoga mat and have fallen off my rocker. Most recently I went through a very transformational time of my life. I moved to a big new city, started a new job, got in and out of a relationship, became very anxious, lonely, depressed, struggled with substance abuse and eventually lost my job. It felt like I downward spiraled to an all time low, rock bottom. I was so excited about starting my life in a new city but my new life did not go according to plan. I realized I had been off my spiritual yoga path for a while. Although I was still eating healthy, taking my vitamins, working out, and drinking my green juice, I was not taking care of what was going on inside my head and my heart. I was not feeling fulfilled or satisfied with my job, was in a very toxic relationship and I was surrounded by a lot of negative people. I was numbing my feelings of loneliness, anxiety, situational depression, homesickness with alcohol and outside distractions. I was not practicing mindfulness and it effected every aspect of my life. I luckily decided to get out of my own way and get my life back on track. I decided to detox my mind, body, soul. I realized that your diet is not only what you eat. It's what you watch, what you do, what you read and the people you surround yourself with. It is so important to be mindful of the things you put in your body emotionally, spiritually and physically. Since then every aspect of my life has improved. I found a new rewarding job, found an amazing new studio where I am teaching, I have met new friends, stopped self medicating, and I am now slowly starting to feel acclimated in my new city.
Yoga is an ongoing practice of wholeness that should include every aspect of our lives. It is a unifying force that integrates and organizes the chaotic energies around us and helps us stay balanced and centered. If you veer off your yoga path don't be hard on yourself, give yourself a break. Whether responsibilities, emotional turmoil, internal self sabotage or injuries draw you away from yoga, always return. Take stock and inventory of the reasons why you left yoga in the first place. Address the issues so that you won't have similar reasons to stray. Set goals and intentions. Keep your goals modest, realistic and achievable. Find your community. It is always a good idea to find a place to call home. When you feel at home you have better chances of sticking with your practice. It is fun and beneficial to try different studios, teachers, and styles to really figure out what best suits your needs. It is also very important to accept support. Make good use of your friends, family and loved ones, they know you best and can help encourage you to get back at it or to stay with it. Practicing with like minded individuals can be motivating and exciting and is a great way to immerse yourself within the yoga community. Yoga is the union of body, mind, soul and spirit. It's rediscovering and remembering who we are and returning to a life of joy, bliss and freedom. I am so grateful for the wisdom and strength I had to take the steps to get back to my authentic self, I feel like I am me again.
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