This past summer was a chaotic time in my life. I was dealing with a big move out of New York City, leaving my friends and family, and trying to acclimate to a new community, which I did not know much about. I was tense and anxious, and my body felt tight and fatigued.
I always knew yoga had its benefits, but I never got into it while living in New York. I felt it was too slow and I was unable to clear my head. But once I moved to New England, I felt it was time to start taking yoga.
So in between unpacking boxes, I headed to a light-filled yoga studio in Providence that offered 45-minute Vinyasa flow classes, which taught the basics and how to focus on the breath.
After a few classes, I was hooked. I felt calmer, more rooted, lighter and at peace with my move. “Practicing yoga regularly takes deep dedication, but if you are struggling with something and can feel that the yoga practice is helping you with it, you’re much more likely to stick with it,” explains Bristol Maryott, owner and yoga instructor at Jala Studio Yoga & Art in Providence, Rhode Island (and one of my favorite yoga studios). “In any time of transformation we become attuned to what brings us solace and we really appreciate it.”
As time has passed, I’ve incorporated longer Vinyasa classes and hot yoga into my schedule. It’s been a great anxiety reliever and nice way to decompress during the day. My body is being challenged in different ways. I feel stronger, more flexible and it has helped relieve tension that I carry in my neck and shoulders. I also noticed my skin has a glow and I sleep better.
“With continued practice there’s a wonderful faith in your body and its abilities,” explains Maryott. “The deep rhythmic breathing calms the nervous system and the focus required helps to the quiet the mind.”
I’m still feeling things out in yoga and learning a lot. I’m not there yet on more advanced poses (headstands, handstands and crazy body twists), but just being in the moment breathing and focusing on the poses has felt nurturing. So, for a girl who never engaged in yoga much, here in my new life in New England I’ll be continuing to say “Namaste.”
I’m curious, do you take yoga? What is your favorite way to calm your mind? And in a time of transition, what got you through it? Leave your comments below.
Photo taken by Tara DeLaive at Jala Studio Yoga & Art in Providence, Rhode Island.