I’m taking advantage of international yoga day to preach about my newfound love for this activity so buckle in for a lengthier non-food related post. Yoga is a recent practice in my life that I for some reason dismissed for the prior 10+ years. My mom has been practicing yoga since I was a small kid but, quite honestly, growing up I never found it interesting. Since then, yoga has obviously become much more popular and has taken a front seat on the recent health and wellness movement. When I graduated college and was forced with the unprecedented need to workout on my own vs simply showing up to lacrosse practices and games, I was a bit lost. No matter how many people recommended yoga to me, I couldn’t wrap my head around it. Is it really a workout? It kind of just seems like an hour of stretching. Instead, I turned to distance running and other high intensity workouts that resembled the competition of college sports. As much as I still love these types of workouts, having this as my only sweating outlet became an unsuccessful practice.
Here is why… New York City is one beautiful place and it provides so much opportunity that is just right outside your doorstep (after you go down an elevator or flight of stairs and out two more doors to a concrete sidewalk), but there is a reason it is called “the city that never sleeps”. It is a freaking stressful place. As a type-A personality, it can seriously wrap you up in its tornado arms of excitement and force you to believe there is no such thing as calmness. I am someone who does not do well “relaxing”. I cannot lay in bed or on a couch all day doing nothing. Honestly, I cannot last more than 30 minutes without thinking of the thousand other things I should be doing. Between working full time with some pretty lengthy and demanding hours, trying to eat healthy, getting to the gym, maintaining a social life, seeing the people I love, and of course this side project Freckled Foodie, I never took the time to slow down and breathe. It has taken me until recently, when the stress ultimately caused me to get shingles (I know, what the hell. Am I a 70 year old woman? I wonder that pretty often), that I took a step back to acknowledge this. You may be asking yourself, why the hell is she ranting about all of this on a picture of her in a headstand. Because, my friends, yoga is the one main solution I have found. Yoga is more than a workout; it is freaking therapy.
When I am on my mat, I am in my own best world. For that hour or so, nothing outside those classroom walls matters. Yoga has taught me how to let go of all of the stress or pressure I may feel and just be myself and flow on my own. It has taught me a newfound confidence and to not give a shit what others think. It has taught me how to breathe and return to that breath in times of stress. I have laughed (mainly when I fall out of inversions Laughing Lotus), cried both tears of joy and sadness in childs pose (thank you Y7 for being candlelit), done headstands on canyons in Moab, and medidated the shit out of shavasana (the best pose that exists). I am so extremely grateful for finding people that have deepened this love, specifically Beth Cooke, and steered me along my yoga journey, and most importantly, for this practice. And to further this national yoga day celebration, I am pumped to flow with Rachel Mansfield and some other yoga loving foodies tonight! Hope you all have an incredible yoga filled day