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A Healthy Perspective: Yoga

One thing that is so imperative to our holistic health and wellness journey is considering our mental health in addition to our physical health. We love that we live in a time that preaches a mindset of mindfulness, gratitude and investing in yourself. Healthy eating and physical fitness are both so important to us, but we also recognize that your mental health is just as important. We wanted to share a few thoughts on Yoga, something we have both found a strong love for and how it has made a difference to our mental health.

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Here are Amanda’s Thoughts on Yoga

  My anxiety used to be crippling. It often times was derived from absolutely nothing. There would not be any single reason I could pin point my anxiety to, other than the fact I would get in my own head and completely panic. I saw a therapist and took anti-anxiety medicine, and it felt so dark and heavy sometimes. It took years for me to move beyond both of these things and rely on myself for inner peace. I still struggle with anxiety every day and I take active steps to control it. I have to remind myself to just breathe, and while it may sound silly, it took me a long time to figure out how to even do that. In all honestly, it is still a struggle for me. It takes practice and grit for me, and is harder for me than busting my ass in a gym, harder than grocery shopping for healthy meals and prepping them weekly and harder than making sure I take giant handfuls of vitamins every morning in my attempt to live a life of wellness. It is one of my biggest weaknesses, and I constantly work at it. I taught myself how to be kind to myself, and this is lesson is one I will never fully master. Through this, I have found solace from anxiousness in things like coffee breaks alone, defusing oils while listening to soft instrumental music, or taking care of my body through yoga.

Something I love doing is putting my phone on do not disturb for an hour or two. It allows me to disconnect, focus and clear my head. Yoga functions in the same way for me. I can allow myself to clear my head of worry if I need it, or to even focus on the worry if I need it. It is completely mental for me. I have learned that they call it ͚practicing yoga͛ within the community. This strikes me as funny because like anything else, it truly takes practice. I have to practice being mindful, practice self-love, practice being kind to yourself and practice getting my mind to a more positive place.

Some classes are harder than others. I just want to check my phone, or a thought will pop into my brain that I can’t shake. I get tired from holding a warrior pose too long, and I get discouraged by my inability to master a graceful looking pigeon pose. Without fail though, in each class I have a moment of breakthrough. My mind gets quieter, and I focus on the still air filling my lungs. I feel my body leaning into a movement, I find a little extra strength I did not think I could muster and I stop looking around at everyone else and focus on me. That is my favorite moment, as it is one of inner silence, and one where I find the peace I so desperately seek day to day. For me, this is what yoga is all about, and why I find so much gratification with each class.

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Here are Christina’s Thoughts on Yoga

  I find people’s exercise journeys to be incredibly personal. Doing an insane cardio session, going on a walk through the park, hiring a personal trainer or hitting up a group cycling class are all things that people do for completely personal reasons and no one is here to judge because YOU DO YOU! Most of my days involve working out with a trainer and on my off days I’m usually on the treadmill or stair master until I feel like I’m going to die (dramatic, I know). Working out keeps me focused and allows me to keep on a routine that I need in my life.

I wish I could say I go to yoga classes regularly, but that’s just not the case. Since I’m such a girl of my routine, I just haven’t gotten a chance to make it a part of that routine….I’m not perfect, what can I say! In order to really be able to speak on the topic, Amanda and I recently took a yoga class together and I wanted to share with you my thoughts on the class.

Like many people, I have an extremely hard time disconnecting. Putting down my phone is not an easy task. I’m guilty of always having it in my hand, always quick to text back and always checking social media. The moment I stepped into the yoga class, my compulsive need to check my phone completely disappeared. This class, as well as others I’ve taken in the past, allowed me to get into a mental state that no other workout can get me into. I like to compare it to getting a massage – I feel totally rejuvenated and relaxed. During the class, the instructor frequently said “listen to your body” and I have to say, I loved hearing that every single time. So often we are comparing our physical abilities to others but by her reminding us to listen to our bodies, it continually made me refocus my energy on myself in that current moment. Just like any other exercise, yoga is your journey. It’s your wellness and your life. And in order to make it the best, you must listen to what your body is telling you. By doing that, you can really get the most out of any yoga class.

When I take these classes, I suddenly appreciate being totally present and learn how to set my intentions for the days ahead. Yoga allows me to reset and refocus my energy on what matters most in my life. As cheesy as it sounds, I walk out of every class feeling like a completely different person. A happier, healthier, gratitude-filled person. Mindfulness matters, people! And I use yoga to learn how to be mindful – but that’s just my own personal experience.

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We would love to hear how you take care of yourself, and what you do for your mental health. We both would love to hear from you, and if you need any advice, an open ear free of judgement or a shoulder to cry on, we are more than happy to help however we can. We wish you all a very happy Thursday and remember to be kind to yourself. Namaste!

Lots of love,

Amanda and Christina

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