The holidays are a stressful time, aren’t they? No matter how organized you are and how hard you work to stay ahead, it’s a bit much for all of us women to do what is required from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.
To be honest, Christmastime in the past has been challenging for me. For years, I had a healthy dose of anxiety brought on by post traumatic stress disorder and this required I be “on guard” to constantly feel safe after I experienced my sexual assault in 1990. It was a 24/7 job for me and the added hustle and bustle of the holidays often took me over the edge by mid-January.
Depression and fatigue would hit and I could not for the life of me find the joy.
I wish back in my early years of my journey to find restoration I had known the healing power of yoga. It helps me so much. I thank Susanne Jackson of Your Power Yoga for being my ROCKSTAR yoga teacher today.
Here are the benefits of yoga:
1) Deep breath allows you to sleep better. I swear I did not breathe deeply for 20-plus years. I was always gasping and holding my breath as a result of PTSD. Deep breath calms and soothes us and allows us to fight insomnia. Harvard Medical School researchers have reported a daily yoga practice produces broad improvements of sleep quality and quantity.
2) Fights Food Cravings. The very nature of yoga makes you so aware of the mind/body connection and creates in you a greater desire to make better choices about food selection. I personally leave my yoga studio every Saturday morning and drive by the swarms heading into the local donut shop, but always choose to drive by the sugar haven. I often muse, “Why would I want to mess up what I just accomplished with yoga?”
3) Calms in the face of storms. Anyone who knows me would classify me as a Type-A Personality, but yoga makes me a B+ type of gal. It brings me down a notch or two and allows me to focus on the big picture, not the nuts and bolts that usually drive me insane. In findings of the MD Anderson Cancer Center study from University of Texas, women who practiced yoga had the steepest decline in their cortisol levels across the day, indicating that yoga had the ability to help regulate this stress hormone.
4) Yoga is non-judgmental and is for all sizes and shapes. Although we “strike” poses in yoga which require alignment, I have never felt my instructors ever thought or said, “Jenny Lynn, you are doing it wrong!” Rather, it is a practice where the instructor gently corrects you with his/her hands and repositions you in an encouraging way. I have never felt inadequate in yoga class. I have often arrived at yoga practice with feelings of annoyance, discouragement, and a cluttered mind, but I always leave with great clarity and purpose, full of self esteem.
As you race through the next two weeks, why not try a yoga class? For the ones of you nearby, Susanne is offering a free class at Your Power Yoga in Statesboro if you mention this email.
I hope to see you on the mat!