Image by harold.lloyd via Flickr
Stress is a big no no if I am going to be a Healthy Working Mom with a happy family. I recently decided to do something about the stress in the form of a project I called A Better Me. It simply lays out ideas for me to get myself healthy in body and mind so I can be there for my family instead of a stressed out Mad, Crazy Mommy (funnily enough, that was the idea for the name of this blog at first)!
I am not unfit, having danced for the last two years (including performing on stage in shows with other adults), but I was quite nervous as I headed out on a whole new adventure into the world of Yoga. A free workshop held by one of my dancing friends and Yoga guru, Carol, at Harmony Yoga Studio enticed me to venture out of my comfort zone. . I figured I already knew the teacher, and she knew me and my limitations. In addition, I was meeting another dancing friend and my newbie blogger inspiration, Eila from The Full Plate Blog.
Well, I certainly wasn’t going this alone…I had others to keep me going and share in my grunts and groans as I prepared to be contorted into gentle positions designed to allow my body to find inner peace and relaxation. I just wasn’t very relaxed about going!
I navigated my way through Stamford to Harmony Yoga Studio easily. At first I thought I had made a mistake as I entered the adjoining gym and could not see anyone. Then, through the little door nestled in the vast gym entrance, I discovered a sanctuary of peace and mindfulness. Carol began by settling us all into a station and allowing us to get comfortable and meet up with friends, which was so nice to be able to do. All through the experience, the calming wall color, the relaxing music and the aromatherapy, all enhanced by Carol’s soothing, yet confident voice brought about a feeling of comfort.
As we began, I found with all the clear and gentle directions on how to position myself, what to do with the myriad blankets and bolster, and how to use the baseline we found with our breathing, that I was calming down even more and started to find my mind clearing. Strangely, as soon as I felt almost completely peaceful and my body started to relax, I cried! Just a little, no heavy sobs, but I just welled up inside and tears trickled down my cheeks under the eye towel. (Thank goodness I had it draped over my head!)
The class continued with a series of poses that became more and more comfortable until I could not move into the relaxation pose at the end…I was just too ‘solid gone’ where I was! Thankfully Carol encouraged us to listen to our bodies and maintain positions we found particularly useful. Shy little ol’ me had taken charge of my body, puffed out breath with a very loud “Haaaa!” and had relaxed my exceedingly tight shoulders for the first time in many months.
Having experienced such an amazing and powerful workshop at Harmony Yoga, I actually feel the calmness and the words of instructor, Carol, continue to pass through me in waves of peacefulness. It also sent me searching for more wisdom to guide me through my hectic and often overly stressful life. Spiritual Now provided a wonderful list created by one of the wisest and arguably most authentic proponent of kindness and wellbeing; the Dalai Lama. He said:
Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
- When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
- Follow the three R’s:
– Respect for self,
– Respect for others and
– Responsibility for all your actions.
- Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
- Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
- Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship.
- When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
- Spend some time alone every day.
- Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
- Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
- Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and
think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
- A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
- In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
- Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.
- Be gentle with the earth.
- Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
- Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
- Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
- If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
- If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
Today is Monday, you know, back to work and all the stress welled up again. Yoga is not an instant fix, it takes time and many years of practice to really reap the benefits. But I have taken my first step into a world which promotes self-worth, self-care, and selflessness all at once. Here’s to my new outlook and attempt to become more in tune with myself and the philosophies of Yoga and the ancient teachings which seem to apply to all religious leanings.