A few months ago, I began practicing yoga as both a physical and mental builder/stress-reliever. It amazes me how closely the activities of the body correlate with those of the mind. Both can be trained and what you feed them will determine their everyday function.
Now I’m not the type to randomly wake up one morning, throw on some leggings, snap into a tree pose or half-moon, and call myself a yogi just for the sake of likes from the pseudo-hippie community on Instagram. For a while I had read about its benefits and admired the strength of those who had been doing it for years. But I never considered actually getting into it myself. I underestimated the power of meditation.. of breathing.. of pushing through.. of SILENCE. Yoga allows you to quiet that internal conversation and focus solely on accomplishing a goal. Goals may consist of holding a difficult pose for five full breaths, finally touching your head with your toe in the King Pigeon, stretching your legs at a wider angle, enduring pain, becoming less anxious about the stresses in your life, etc. No matter the goal, your session leaves you feeling balanced, powerful, invincible, and most importantly ENERGETIC. Positive energy will exude from your mind and body and it will show in your interactions with others.
As stated earlier, mental training is just as important as physical training. Your body can be conditioned to build strength and resilience for better functioning. The same applies to your mind. The more you utilize certain areas of your brain (i.e. emotion, logic, creativity) in healthy ways, the more conditioned it will be to do so on its own, with less direct conscious work from you. Consistently feed yourself positive thoughts and eventually, your subconscious will be consumed with so much positivity that you’ll develop a lower tolerance for negativity. Yoga is most certainly a vehicle for this type of mental training. I’d like to still consider myself new to the practice. Honestly, right now I’m not too concerned with learning a lot of the concrete material like the names of the poses, meanings of the various hand signs, etc. I’m just focusing on the basics and strengthening myself for the next level. Progress is key. I’m hoping you join me in the journey.
-Jade L. Stewart of I am Jade Leilani