I very much enjoy being active and doing active things – but I will say, I am particular about what those things are. I love to ride my bike, take a nice walk while chatting with Mike or a friend or even lift some weights. Running on the other hand is not my cup of tea. Can I run? Sure. I played running sports in high school and a bit in college and will participate in the occasional 5k. But, I really don’t enjoy it at all. All that circles through my head while running is, “when will this be over?”.
Growing up my go-to sport was gymnastics. I am naturally on the flexible side and mentally gymnastics brought out the best in me. I learned that I actually can thrive under pressure. Gymnastics is a team sport, but it is also a very individual sport…you need to be able to pull a lot from within yourself and quiet your mind to succeed. It takes extreme mental toughness and concentration to succeed. I competed gymnastics on a team through 8th grade and then I started coaching gymnastics in high school and in college a bit to stay connected with the sport. I have even recently started coaching again just because I miss and love the sport so much. A couple years ago I tried to figure out what an ideal type of workout for me would be, both physically and mentally, taking into consideration the things I do love…and it became glaringly obvious – yoga.
Yoga not only provides the physical challenge I crave but the internal, mental one that I need as well. It allows me to work on poses and transitions that are difficult and take a lot from my body. But I find yoga not only helps me build strength, flexibility (which is super important ) and endurance – it challenges me to release mentally. Yoga challenges me to let go of the many thoughts swirling through my head and focus only about being present on my mat. I have some difficulty with stress and anxiety and yoga is something that helps me through it.
In terms of the full yogi lifestyle, I definitely do not follow it exactly – but I do the things that work best for me. The yoga practice has inspired me to make more healthy decisions in my life, both physically and mentally. I am not vegan or vegetarian – but I do try to make healthy choices to fuel my body. I do not eat red meat a ton, but I do eat it – a perfectly grilled steak is one of my favorite things. I consider myself lucky that I have access to a lot of healthy foods and I genuinely enjoy eating fresh, nutritious things. A diet rich in fruit, veggies, protein and whole grains makes me feel my best. That is not to say that the occasional splurge on rich or sweet foods does not happen – because it certainly does! I also do drink alcohol in moderation. I thoroughly enjoy a glass of a robust red wine so I don’t deprive myself of it. But, I do think it is super important to always drink consciously and responsibly.
I have always considered myself to be a kind, friendly person but yoga has made me more conscious of trying to share happiness with others. A yogi’s true path is to bring love and light into the world and the practice has taught me that no matter how small, every nice gesture helps. A simple hello and a smile to a stranger when you are passing them on the street can bring joy. I try very hard to be kind and friendly all the time to encourage love in the world – as you never know what someone is going through and what such a simple thing could do to help them. I get inspired daily by the yoga community on Instagram – most specifically Kino MacGregor and Kerri Verna – not only by the amazing physical things they are able to do but by their words of love, peace and encouragement. Check them out on Snapchat too!
I hope to post more about my yoga journey and my participation in some of the fun challenges on Instagram. Look out for it!