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Heal From Here.

If you are anything like me, you know there is something special about picking up your yoga mat and getting ready for class. As you quietly and gracefully roll it out, taking your first deep breath of your 60-minute class, as your mind calms and your body relaxes. There is something so special about this moment, no matter where you are, at a studio, in a park or your living room. When you think about running, weightlifting or even a spin class, there is an immense rush of adrenaline, where we push our body to the brink, an exercise that gives us a form of high. There is most definitely a place for this in our lives, we need to feel this rush, but there is also a very deep need for the acceptance and connection that yoga brings.

We all step on to our yoga mat for similar reasons, a need to heal. We know that yoga is a great physical practice, it tones the body, it encourages flexibility and promotes relaxation. We will definitely benefit from a stronger physical body but the real magic happens beneath the skin. When you practice regularly, your blood pressure and cardiovascular health improves, as well as better pulmonary function. Lower blood sugar, boosted immunity and improved bone health are all added benefits. This powerful practice goes further in releasing deep held emotions and traumas, it can truly open an emotional experience. We hold past heartaches, heartbreaks, grievances and grief within our bodies, especially if we haven't dealt with or acknowledged their effects on our lives.

When we think about health, people associate this with the body, but the mind is your greatest power and should not be overlooked when trying to achieve health and well being. Yoga is also a workout for the soul, which needs conditioning, just like muscles. We know that stress is a silent killer and that 80% of illness is derived from stress. As medical and yoga research expands, empirical evidence shows that yoga is very effective in combatting anxiety, depression and many common ailments. When you begin to breathe deeply and focus, you reduce anxiety and enter a more relaxed state, calming your nervous system, diminishing the fight and flight response. The challenge is not in our understanding of how yoga can help heal the body and mind, it is in getting a consistent routine that works for you personally in life right now. Yoga is a powerful medicine and more potent when taken regularly over time. Creating a personal at home yoga practice is akin to developing a beneficial new habit. At first it might feel forced or even inconvenient when the distractions of work or children demand your attention. Yet, if you keep at it, finding a quiet, sacred space that you can come to again and again, you will find your day is not complete without your daily practice. This practice does not have to be physical asana (postures), it can be breathing exercises, meditation, it can be micro practices split in the day. In yoga it's not what you do it's how you do it. You will discover that your practice is a much needed refuge from all the crazy, helping you stay grounded, balanced and compassionate throughout your day, week, month and year. Yoga cannot cure everything but it can assist in the process of healing.

This week find time to heal, in your next practice as you work through poses, connect your mind, body and soul like not many other activities can do. Strengthen your body, focus your mind and release your emotions. Join a class with me and feel the energy of your community right in your own home, your sacred space. When practice ends and we take those few moments on our mat in savasana, allow yourself to feel the euphoric healing power. With a tingling that takes over your body and a rush of emotion, embrace it. Whether it makes your smile, giggle or cry it is healing your soul.

Rachel xo

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