Embrace Yourself Through Yoga


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“I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.”  Psalm 119:15 (ESV)

I’ve always been active, so even when the aches and pains of exercise and sports began to gain momentum (along with my age), I continued to live in an ‘injury crisis mode’ instead of adopting an ‘injury prevention plan.’  Doctors and physical therapists kept pointing me in the same direction; yoga, as a way to improve my flexibility and stretch out those aching muscles.  I finally took the plunge and dove into the yoga pool.

Ahhhh, why did I wait so long!

Yoga is a total workout that engages both mind and body as you breathe, stretch, and relax through movements designed to increase strength, flexibility, and coordination.  Not only are the exercises effective in strengthening my core, but yoga sessions leave me feeling inner peace and a quiet confidence.

My favorite part just happens to be the last exercise (go figure), yet one of the most important aspects of yoga; the Savasana, or Corpse Pose.  With eyes closed and face relaxed you lie on your back, legs relaxed, with the feet turned out equally.  The arms fall naturally at your sides with palms open and upward facing, resting the backs of the hand on the mat.  Corpse Pose concludes the yoga practice allowing proper time for the body to relax and feel spaciousness without thought.

If it sounds somewhat ethereal – it is.

I love the Savasana!  It’s a perfect end to my yoga experience as I relax in the moment, allowing my body and mind to embrace the inner peacefulness I’ve achieved.  Sometimes I’m just physically spent and celebrating the fact that I made it!  More often than not I’m soothed by the outright calmness of feeling my own weight, relaxing muscle by muscle, on my mat.  It’s a moment of quiet when my mind is most open to appreciation and thankfulness.

Last Friday, my yoga instructor softly spoke these words during Savasana:

“May you have enough happiness to make you sweet,
Enough trials to make you strong,
Enough sorrow to make you truly human,
And enough joy to bring you hope!”

         Mary, Instructor at Sumits Hot Yoga, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

I thought of my family, and other events that bring happiness into my life.  A gorgeous sunset.  The silent serenity of falling snow.  Sharing a glass of wine with a dear friend.  Like most people, my life has had its’ share of ups and downs, but I know it was character building.  I’m stronger and more real because of my life experiences.  I reflected on the many facets of joy and hope, and how they are so closely intertwined.

For some, yoga is an exercise in stress reduction; a set time in the day where it’s okay to pause, tune-out the busyness of life, and take-in a deep breath.  Others practice yoga to improve their flexibility and overall fitness.  For me, yoga has become a spiritual journey where I’m led to accept my mind and my body, and forgive my faults and my shortcomings.

I’ve learned to embrace myself – just the way God made me!

Check out these articles to read more about the life-improving benefits of yoga.

“Yoga: Fight Stress and Find Serenity” and “The Benefits of Yoga.”