In Defense of Yoga

With social events and family gatherings right around the corner, it’s easy to stop doing some of the things you usually do, including established habits. It’s even easier to stop doing the new activities you’d like to transform into habits. Your yoga practice, whether fully integrated into daily life or a new-found activity you’d like to continue, is in danger of suffering this December. For some, the knowledge of having been dedicated to their practice for a long time can feel like permission to do less and focus on other matters. For others, yoga can feel like a personal luxury, one that can easily be picked up after everyone else’s problems and needs have been resolved.

We all struggle with the decision of what to do with the present moment. Most of us can only do one thing at a time; therefore a choice must be made between many tasks or activities of differing priority levels. Normally, there exists a careful balance between the things that need to be done and the things we would like to do. But during times of stress, we’re all guilty of compromising on the things we would like to do, the self-care activities that keep us happy and balanced, that we mortgage our own well-being. The parent who puts off treating themselves for some magical day in the future when they won’t have to drive half the soccer league to practice. The student who sacrifices good nutrition for convenience during finals week. The working professional who hasn’t taken a day off in years. We’ve all seen these people and we’ve all been these people.

I would like to put forth the outlandish proposal that healthy, well-cared-for people are happier people. More productive people. Even sexier people. In the midst of all the swirling activities and demands that December brings, make two lists for yourself. One you already have, whether it’s in your mind or written down on a scrap of paper. The other is a list of all the things you usually do for yourself or all the things you’d like to do for yourself. Add yoga to the top of both lists.

Beyond the realm of exercise, yoga calms the nerves, deepens the breath and establishes a mind-body connection to counteract all the spinning the mind does on its own. We all know that yoga makes us feel good, but yoga is also something we need, especially when life gets chaotic. When you carve out time to care for your own well-being, both physical and mental, then you’ll find that you command such superpowers as increased energy, more focused attention, emotional empathy to spare, and that rarest of all gems, peace of mind.

Go forth. Do yoga. Spread Joy.

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