Sometimes my life knows what I need before I do. Does anyone else experience this?
The idea of breathing (ha, that just sounds funny because everyone breathes all the time) came to me when I started yoga. I decided to take a stab at getting healthy and being more active. That led to me trying yoga. I was going to be that hot chick… that trendy hot chick with a rocking body. No idea what really prompted me to try it but it completely saved me. So like I started this weekly yoga thing and the first class kicked my ass. I sucked at yoga. I was incredibly uncomfortable and a few times I had to excuse myself from the torture and take a break. I’m surprised an ambulance wasn’t put on stand-by that night. I was a complete liability to myself, those around me and the studio. Okay, okay… I’m exaggerating. It was ugly though and harder than I ever could have imagined.
But I did it. I totally got through the class. Being on a health kick and trying to push myself, I kept at it. I went back every Monday night. I still go every Monday night and I’m looking to potentially add a second night of torture to my week now. But yoga became more to me as I began to face some challenges. I went through some relationship issues with an on-again-off-again guy that shook me to the core. It forced me to sit with years of lies, self-doubt, negative self-talk, and all that good stuff. There were lots of tears and I immediately shoved myself back into therapy with the best therapist on the planet (I truly believe this).
My Monday nights at yoga left me feeling accomplished. I continued to improve and really dug deep to push myself. At the end of yoga, there’s always this quiet time to lay and reflect-there is a technical term for this but I have no idea what it’s called. During this time I would give myself the best pep talks. Like, “Look at you, Britta. You’re doing it.” It felt so good! It felt so right! This helped me gain confidence and a new perspective. Instead of chasing after feelings and trying to make something work, I began building what I wanted. I began constructing the Britta I knew was always there. I dusted her off and proved that her spirit and drive are constants (and very much alive).
What does breathing and gratitude have to do with all of this? Yoga forces you to really focus on the breath. If you can control your breath, you can control anything. Remarkable! This isn’t exactly new to me but it hit me in a new way. As I find myself being overwhelmed and anxious, I turn to my breath and really stay in the moment. As I hold a particularly hard pose in yoga, I turn to my breath and push through. Nothing is constant. There’s nothing that I can’t move through with a clear and focused mind. Just breathe. Also, my yoga instructor always reminds the class that the poses don’t start until you’re uncomfortable. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Remarkable! It’s what was going on with me and it was a road map to pull my butt out of where it was. I began to live again.
I threw in gratitude because I’m still keeping my gratitude journal. Despite what I’m going through or how busy I am, I still dedicate a portion of my day to express gratitude. It helps keep things in perspective. I’ve built a few amazing practices into my life because they make me better. Stress and anxiety aren’t necessities. They don’t prepare me or force me to get more done. Taking focused steps will and that takes breathing and appreciating everything around me.