Our society practically glorifies a busy schedule and stress. The high-strung culture we reside and live in is running so fast that time seemingly flies before our eyes. There is no question that life is hard between balancing a social life, families, working, and trying to squeeze in playtime. When we experience pain, suffering, tense, hurt, or any other negative emotion, we tense certain parts of our bodies. Even when you are driving and someone cuts you off, you irritably tense your lungs, seat, or squeeze your hands. This is a reaction, and unfortunately, most decisions and choices we make in life are reactive. If your friend throws a plate at you and yells your name to catch, you will most likely cover your face, swat at it, and break it. Our body jumps into a reactionary “fight or flight” mode. We are genetically wired to fight or run from whatever is thrown at us for survival sake, but this is the twenty-first century, and that reactionary stress is archaic and expendable. More on how this relates to yoga later.
When is the last time you touched your toes? 30 years ago? Children are so flexible because they go with the flow and move, de-stressing simultaneously.
If you don’t know much about yoga, I will begin with this: releasing tiny tension built up in your muscles while simultaneously strengthening tendons, ligons, muscles, and bones you forgot you possessed, can be an extremely emotional experience.
When tension created from a stressful event is released through stretching and movement, the thought, emotion, or idea can pop back up. Most of the time it is released in seconds as subliminal chatter in our minds. It is estimated that we have an average of 2100 thoughts per HOUR. How many do you remember? How often have you thought of a clever idea and struggled to recall it 10 minutes later? On the other hand, we tend to recall negative thoughts more vividly.
My favorite thing about yoga is that I can release the stress, negativity, slow down, and get all away from all of my mind chatter. I feel I am particularly wired to overanalyze every single experience, interaction, reaction, word, or lack thereof. I have social anxiety. Yoga is freeing to me. Yet sometimes I get comfortable in my practice and reach plateaus. Some days my practice is routine, while others it is transformative.
I love roller coasters, but hated the initial freefall. Dad would say, “Take a deep breath and exhale on the way down and you won’t feel it at all.” Perhaps it was simply a placebo effect for some. For me, an exhale was a physical tense of my stomach which gave me control of my belly. Next, mentally, I knew that at the end of the breathe, the initial drop would cease and everything would be okay.
If only I knew how deep and truly applicable that advice was to life. This breath and control of your body. Unfortunately, I did not figure it out until 2013, when I began yoga.
In yoga, poses target specific muscles and movements. Our muscles literally quiver and yell for us to stop! Yet, we can use breathe to distract ourselves away from the temptation to straighten that leg or get out of a pose. We can use breath to train our minds to resist the “fight or flight” mode and instead go about life with a “relaxation response” that helps us keep the tension out. Tension can lead to injury, sickness, and illness.
Yoga can help you stay in the present, drop the million thoughts we are consumed with in todays’ society. When I focus on the movements and listen to the instructor cue fun, unexpected poses one after the next, I zone out and go to an indescribable happy place where I truly feel like myself.
It is easy to get attached to certain aspects of a yoga practice because it is life-enriching and emotional for the reasons noted above. People become complacent in their practice and resist trying new poses. I know I had grown attached to the people, relationships, and environment that I was practicing in.
Last week, my home yoga studio space closed and moved to merge with Soul Yoga Studio, on the Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville, South Carolina. My last class at Zanti was Sunday, and my first class at Soul Yoga is Friday at 6:30 PM. Moving has inspired me to switch up my classes, teach new poses, and get back to my personal practice.
I practiced at Soul as a member/teacher for the first time Wednesday- on the International Day of Yoga! I have been so tired lately, but the class was awakening, an amazing workout, and simply moving on my mat was already home.
I believe this merger will expand the yoga community. As a teacher, I have many more students and teachers from whom I can learn and grow. The students at Soul will have new viewpoints, cues, creative flows, care, and twice the teachers to talk to, as well as hundreds of new friends and practitioners. Soul also provides more space and opportunities for community and camaraderie. Students can use the new environment, space, and variety of teachers to grow further and challenge his own practice.
Personally, I am eager to get to know everyone and to start teaching thought out flows and exchange encouragement, love, and kindness through my classes. The best part is that in addition to all the friendly new faces, all my favorite teachers and friends will be at Soul. I also plan to start packing my bike for the Swamp Rabbit Trail before and after classes!
Change is scary, but it truly is the only constant in this life. So cheers to Zanti Power Yoga and the beautiful people, relationships, and personal growth I received there (along with my yoga teacher training) and I cannot wait to make Soul Yoga my new home! Come find me this evening at Soul at 6:30 PM. My class will always only be $5 to take and I try to cater to everyone from beginners to experienced practitioners.
♠ Namaste! ♠
My first King of Pops and outdoor yoga at Soul Yoga, with my cousin Megan:
Soul Yoga hosts a free outdoor yoga class for anyone through October, every Thursday from 7:15 – 8:15. King of Pops is present to purchase delicious natural pops. This was literally my first one, but it has to be my favorite: watermelon mojito!
My ‘Z’ class buddy Elizabeth outside after my last class:
Some regulars and my family stuck around for a final picture:
My girls, during one of our Yoga Teacher Training classes, back in Spring of 2016:
After I tried out Becca’s cardio-intense trampoline class:
Assisted locus poses at DJ Hyfy with our YTT graduating class:
Trying Maya Movement aerial swing with ZPY YTT buddies:
My sisters came to my graduation class in April 2016 and its amazing to see how their practices have progressed:
We make a point to try and get our YTT girls together as often as possible:
Funny poses after graduation: