Happy New Year!
I can personally attest that incorporating something new into your daily routine just because someone says it's good for you makes it feel like work. It took me years to adopt daily practices. But when I first started exploring yoga to manage my stress, no one could fully explain to me the physiology of what I was experiencing and how to address it in a way that worked for me. This is why I study the science of yoga and mindfulness and use a variety of different tools as I dialogue with my yoga therapy clients to find what works best for them. If you find yourself encountering the same anxieties, relationship issues, and habitual patterns that leave you feeling stuck, something will need to shift in your routine.
Although spiritual awakenings can happen in a flash, such as in the case of a near-death experience, most people can train their minds day by day into better feeling positive emotional and physical states. There is lots of research that demonstrates that yoga and mindfulness practices decrease the stress hormone cortisol, increases dopamine (feel good hormone), and increases serotonin (regulates anger, aggression, metabolism, mood, body temperature, and appetite). How many drugs do you know can do this without side effects?! I’ll tell you. ZERO!
I believe it is our divine right as spiritual beings to experience joy. Just start where you are. Even 1-2 minutes of slow breathing with your eyes closed or softly focused will help you break the loop of negative thought cycles and start to allow your natural state of wellbeing to rise to the surface. If you want to incorporate movement, try this breathing while gently moving the spine through cat/cow. The more you engage in a practice that works for you, the easier it gets. Just a few minutes a day can make all the difference. Just a few minutes can start to give you a sense of agency in managing your own health and mind-body experience that no one else can.
And do you know what the biggest benefit may be? When we shift the balance of people walking around who are divisive, angry, and fearful to people who are feeling more connected, compassionate, and loving we will see great changes on this planet we didn’t think possible. Never underestimate your own power in making a difference. Make the positive changes in yourself for you, but also do it for your families, friends, neighbors and the generations that will inherit the earth we are creating right now.
As always, I am here to help with your yoga therapy practice.
Love and blessings in 2023!
Rebekah Conrad, C-IAYT, E-RYT500