We all have New Year's resolutions year after year - to lose weight, eat more veggies, spend less time on social media, walk our dogs more, eat fewer cheeseburgers. Some of my resolutions this year were to spend more time in prayer and solitude, exercise more frequently, and to spend more time for myself and by myself (I rarely spend time alone). Even as I type that, I feel slightly embarrassed. My nature tells me that that is selfish - I should do more, achieve more, spend more time and energy with others and for others. But for me, that's my default. Those are my strengths - I empathize, I relate, I develop, I adapt, I listen. My tendency is to say "yes" to any social invitation, to fill my schedule, to neglect having margin in my life. If I don't take intentional time to step back, to be alone, to pray, to just be, it becomes an unhealthy imbalance and I lose myself.
So how have I begun to remedy this imbalance? For starters, I'm trying to say "no" when I should. I'm trying to question my motivation for saying "yes". Is it because it's something I want to do? Is it because it's beneficial? Is it something that I am doing just to please the other person?
I've also started practicing yoga 3-4 times per week. No, it's not weird chanting or meditation to some eastern religious god. I'm doing yoga sculpt (trust me, it's SUCH a good workout!), hot yoga and other variations of each. (Side note: The amount you sweat in these classes is actually rather mind-boggling, as the room temperatures - with added humity, might I add - reach between 92-103 degrees.) I'm taking time to take care of my body, to calm my mind... to just breathe. Whether I can't resist my extroverted nature and I attend a class with a friend, or whether I go alone and take some time for prayerful solitude in a room full of strangers, yoga is starting to literally change my life for the better. I feel stronger, healthier, more patient (!) and more like ME. I allowed myself to neglect myself for too long. And now, I just breathe - inhale through the nose, open mouth exhale - and take the hour I carve out each day for yoga and enjoy every minute of it. Ahhhhh. I feel more relaxed just thinking about it!
Taking time for yourself resting, vacationing, exercising - these are spiritual, not selfish, practices. I'm working on believing that myself. The more I take my own advice, the most the voices (a.k.a. lies) in my head disappear and in their absence comes silence, margin and more room for good things and God things. So take my advice - be counter cultural - relax, breathe deep and create margin.
So I'm a Yogi now I guess, and I love it. Namaste :)
“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” -Psalm 62:1-2
You can't get your sweat on without the proper gear. Here are my must-haves for a hot yoga class: