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How A Simple Yoga Practice Changed My Life
By: Sophia Damasceno
Last year I hit my breaking point. I was mentally exhausted, stressed at work and feeling trapped in an environment that was draining the life out of me. It’s common to experience this situation as a young adult. It’s the period of time that you have to make big decisions. It’s often a time of trial and error where you discover what kind of jobs you like and don’t like, what kind of people you want to surround yourself with and which you want to stay away from. You will realize what brings you happiness and what doesn’t. It can be an extremely stressful time and it’s so important to find a way to manage your emotional response.
Personally, I am a very sensitive person. A little bit of stress amounts to a lot for me. Last year I was in a really tough spot. I wasn’t happy at work, I was on my third year of long distance with my boyfriend and we had no plans to end it, I was starting to feel trapped living at home with my parents and I was just looking for a way out. My coworkers were getting on my nerves and I was constantly hoping and wishing things would get better, but never did anything about it. Around that time, I met a new girl at work who I instantly connected with. We were so similar in many ways and quickly learned that we were going through some of the same things. One day I looked over at her cubicle and said, I need a change in my life. She suggested we sign up for a yoga class and I thought that sounded fun, but was that really going to help?
We signed up for a month of yoga classes and started going every Monday after work. I loved that it was how I started my week. I felt that it set my week up for success and if I ever missed a class, I could tell that something was missing. It changed my life for the better in so many ways. Here’s what happened:
1. I learned how to control my breath.
There were days that I would leave work and I would feel suffocated. The stress was overwhelming and after leaving that environment I felt as though I couldn’t breathe. Breathing has a huge impact on mental health. If you’ve ever taken yoga, you know that the practice has a major focus on controlling your breath. At the end of every practice, I felt that I could let go of the stress and my body could relax.
2. My anxiety was reduced.
In the 5 weeks that I took yoga classes, I felt significantly less anxious in my day to day activities. I looked forward to my class and whatever I was holding onto, I let go of during the practice. It made my days much better.
3. I let go of the tension in my body.
Yoga involves a lot of movement. I learned to move parts of my body that I didn’t even know moved. If you don’t stretch out your body, it just builds tension that never gets released. I can honestly say that after my yoga classes, my body felt the most relaxed it’s ever felt in my life. There is no better feeling than at the end of a yoga class.
Yoga was a life changing event for me. I have made a goal for myself to get back into it next month and I am really looking forward to it. If you’re going through something challenging, I encourage you to try yoga. Your body will thank you for it.
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