Why We Can All Benefit from Yoga
The last time I took a yoga class was almost exactly a year ago when I decided I was going to leave my marriage. I’d been having breathing issues for two weeks after finally seeing a lawyer, so much so that I was going to schedule a doctor’s visit to make sure I wasn’t dying.
I figured that if I going to die, I probably would have already, so maybe, just maybe it was something else. Given my body’s penchant for psychosomatic symptoms, I decided that it could be, you know, stress.
I’m not sure if it was a friend who suggested yoga or I came to the brilliant realization on my own, but I distinctly remember finally being able to breathe normally for an entire hour during that class. For those 60 minutes, I felt like myself again. My lungs open, my chest loose.
My breathing slow and rhythmic.
I’ve never really been a fan of yoga, mostly because it’s completely counterintuitive to my multi-tasking type-A personality.
Well that and it’s hard. As hell.
There’s nothing like feeling like a weak wimp for upwards of an hour while you watch the slender, strong people all around you support themselves with one bent arm.
Please don’t let me fart. Please don’t let me pee myself. Please don’t let me fall over crashing and ruin everyone’s meditative practice with a huge loud clunk.
Last week I took a yoga class not even by choice, relegated to stretches and breathing because the modern jazz class I wanted to take had been canceled. I wanted the pounding music, my bare feet grasping the floor as my arms flailed rhythmically at my sides.
But I relented, figuring something was better than nothing.
The teacher began by talking about focus, asking us in the gentle monotone Yogi way to use the time, the 60-minutes in a muggy-as-hell dance classroom, to clear our minds and hone in on the movements and stretches, leaving all the distractions outside the glass doors.
It’s something these days to not be constantly thinking and going and scrolling and clicking and texting and tweeting, single mom or not.
If it’s not one thing, it’s another, and we’re all juggling so much, no matter how many (or few) kids you have.
I get that we have to, for myriad reasons, and the option to slow down is not open to all of us. But if you can, even for a few minutes every day, you should, especially if you’ve got someone telling you to do it in the confines of a classroom.
To focus on nothing was exactly what the doctor ordered. No matter how sad my downward facing dog looked in the mirror in front of me. No matter how ridiculous I felt trying to do crow’s pose (or whatever it’s called).
Seriously, why exactly do I want to be able to support my entire body on just my bent arms? Am I not the only one who thinks that is nuts?
But for that hour, it was just me, my sweat, and I.
And even if the zen only lasted through just before getting my children in bed, it was completely and utterly worth it.Published July 31, 2014. Last updated March 12, 2018.