How Yoga Changes You, Body and Mind

An interview by Yoga One student Stacey Ebert with Yoga One owner and co-founder, Amy Caldwell. 

Amy Caldwell. Photo by Shadow Van Houten

Amy Caldwell. Photo by Shadow Van Houten

As a practicing yogi, I’ve seen and felt the benefits of sharper awareness, greater strength and flexibility, better posture, and overall improved health firsthand. The more than 5,000-year old philosophy encourages a practice of health, wellbeing, and attention. No, you don’t have to flexible. No, it’s not super expensive. Yes, you can practice anywhere. Yes, it offers something for everyone. Never once have I regretted a moment spent on my mat.

To see what someone with more detailed knowledge had to say, I chatted with Amy Caldwell, who along with her husband, Michael, owns Yoga One in San Diego, California. In addition to practicing, studying, and teaching yoga for two decades, Amy has collaborated on the best-selling iYoga Premium for iPad and iPhone. She also leads the annual yoga class aboard the historic USS Midway, is the head teacher for the acclaimed Yoga One Teacher Training, and has twice been featured on the cover of Yoga Journal. Here’s what she has to say about yoga and its benefits.

SE: How does the idea of ‘getting out of your own way’ merge with the practice of yoga?

AC: Yoga, an ongoing practice of inner listening, works to find a balance between being grounded and remaining open. These tools help us “get out of our own way” by deeply connecting to our Self (“Self” with a capital S indicates big energy and spirit, a higher self). By the time the student makes it to a yoga class, she has already taken the first pro-active step towards self-care.

SE: How do you encourage students to “take their first steps and then leap?” 

AC: Life happens during our present moments, and the practice of yoga teaches people to consciously participate in those present moments. Students are invited to notice with increasing attention what is happening here and now. The next step is to balance that awareness with relaxing into what is: meeting yourself where you are each and every day, and moving forward from there.

The intentions and tools experienced and developed in a yoga practice carry off the mat into daily life.

Amy Caldwell. Photo by Nancee Lewis

Amy Caldwell. Photo by Nancee Lewis

SE: What are some beginning, advanced, and intermediate actionable steps women can take to lessen fear and add more joy to their life?

AC: Practice self-care. Take a few minutes every day to simply “be” rather than to “do.” This can be going for a walk, a few yoga poses, five minutes of meditation, or really, doing anything at all with the intention of being fully present.

Schedule something weekly that strengthens the muscles of careful listening and being present. This can be as simple as listening to whomever is speaking to you without interruption and with full attention, a yoga or meditation class, or any art form that encourages mindfulness.

Make time for things that bring you joy (for me it can be spending quality time with my family, being in nature or taking a fun dance class). Pay attention to whatever it is that helps you connect to a deep sense of vibrant aliveness and make time to do it! We can all carve out an hour or two a week for our well-being and healthy enjoyment.

Originally published by Stacey Ebert with the title, Get Out of Your Own Way. Read more at Second Chance Travels.
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