Yoga requires a delicate balance of strength and ease. Each morning when I arrive at my mat, I leave the buzzing of the outside world behind and return to my inner home. I work hard, flowing through sequences and holding challenging poses, while also surrendering to the practice, honing into the ebb and flow of my breath. I always leave my yoga mat better than I began, with a strong sense of who I really am.
Around the time I began doing yoga, I was in a transitory stage of my life. I was a new mom in the process of figuring myself out. Yoga appealed to me because I wanted a practice that would calm my mind while also strengthening my body and helping me to feel comfortable in my skin. Four years later and yoga remains a staple of my morning ritual.
I continue to do yoga every morning because it allows me to set a conscious intention, gives me focus and clarity and is my way of showing love to myself.
It was in a yoga class that I first learned about the concept of energy. Not only are we all composed of energy, but our energy exudes out from within us, impacting everyone we come into contact with. Through yoga I learned to be conscious of the energy that I bring with me, to be conscious of the thoughts that I choose to nurture and to let go of the thoughts and feelings that no longer serve me.
At the beginning of my practice, I take a moment to be still and set an intention for my flow. This intention varies depending on how I am feeling that day. Some days my intention is to focus, other days it is to breathe and slow down. Intention setting allows me to be conscious of the energy I am bringing into the room. It reminds me that while there are many aspects of life that are outside of my control, I get to choose myself. I get to choose what I focus on and the energy I carry within myself.
Focus and clarity
With nothing to focus on, my mind is scattered and I find myself darting from task to task without ever really completing anything or feeling accomplished. Doing yoga first thing in the morning puts both my mind and body to work. My focus is anchored in my breath as I flow from pose to pose. In this focused state of mind, I am immersed in the present moment and the background noise flooding my mind quiets down. From here I can separate my ego from my true self and it becomes evident to me what is truly important. After a morning practice, my mind is clear and well-equipped to focus on whatever task will warrant my attention that day.
Every morning I show up to my yoga mat, I am showing up for myself. On my mat, there is no room for anything that does not serve me. This daily practice is my way of filling my cup before I step into the demands of my everyday life. Having the discipline to care for myself first thing in the morning gives me confidence and pours into every other area of my life. When my needs have been met, I show up for the various roles I take on as my best self--I am a compassionate mother, a diligent employee, a keen student and an overall happy Amanda.