10 March 2015

yoga and my brain

Lately I've been making the attempt to go to weekly yoga classes, and to continue to practice at home. Since the practice at home is frequently interrupted by a toddler who wants to help me stretch by sitting on me, I have to say that the classes at the yoga studio are far more helpful to my mental state. I was extremely out of sorts yesterday and had to make myself go to class, but once I'd settled into shavasana for a while to prepare myself for class, the tension started to drain away. By the end of the hour, I was in a much better frame of mind.

It's true that exercise in general does seem to help my moods. We went on our first bike ride of the season last weekend, and it was a definite mood-lifter. Even a brisk walk helps. Getting outside, even if it's raining, does something to help, even if the hot summer sunshine we'll be getting in a few months is going to throw me for another loop and I'll have to moderate between sun/heat exposure and the need for exercise.

A great deal of yoga is about quieting your mind, and that's the challenge for me. My mind doesn't like to shut up. I have a rich and varied inner life that includes lots of making up stories to tell myself when I'm bored. Turning that off is hard, since I've been doing that most of my life. Sure, it sometimes gets out of hand, like the time the other week when I woke up at three in the morning and couldn't get back to sleep for an hour because I was freaking out about something and couldn't get my mind to stop.

I probably should have gotten up, picked an asana, and worked on my breathing. That does actually seem to help. Next time.

In the meantime, I try to practice daily, and hope that my toddler lets me get through a few poses before she decides it's time to sit on my head and smother me.

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