And, occasionally, these moments of gratitude would just befall me, out of nowhere. The feeling was so foreign, at first it freaked me out. Until I realized, it must be the yoga. But to explain how monumental this felt, I have to go back a few years to where this story really began.
Growing up, I had it pretty easy. It was only a matter of time before hardship would rear its ugly head and make a guest appearance in my life.
What Yoga is Truly About
That time came, in , right after graduation. Graduating in the middle of recession, I had no job lined up so I moved back in with my parents. Living with my parents was actually pretty great. A moment that felt like my whole world had collapsed on top of me. And while I felt a lot of support, I also felt very alone for a very long time. There were very few people I felt I could talk to. And even fewer I knew who had gone through something similar. But the feeling was fleeting as soon as I finished the book.
Hardship had done its best to turn my life upside down, and until recently, I never felt quite capable of piecing it back together. I exercised regularly. I tried meditation. I tried the gratitude journals thing. I read about happiness as a choice. I was choosing, but nothing seemed to be sticking. Objectively, things were good, I liked my life. It was as if a malaise had settled over. An uneasiness of going through the motions, but not quite living them either.
And so, seven years later, I was amazed when yoga began to unmask this weird veil that had settled over my life. It felt like nothing short of a miracle. It felt like such a miracle to me, I felt compelled to do more research. Yoga was magic for grownups and I was determined to find out why. In class, I had always heard about chakras, but had also managed to dismiss them.
Chakras have come to the West through the tradition and practice of yoga.
This goal is achieved by passing through steps of ever-expanding states of consciousness. The chakras represent these steps. I was my own test subject. And after doing yoga daily for two months, the null hypothesis, that the experiment would have no impact, was proving to be incorrect. There must be something -- something scientific -- to yoga.
It was only when I read an article that each of the seven chakras correlated with a gland or organ, that my mind began to shift. Now, this made sense to me. As I started to read more about chakras, I recognized my own experience in the descriptions. Starting with the first chakra: the root chakra.
The first chakra has to do with survival. A chakra can be unbalanced, experiencing either an excess or a deficiency. Feeling overly afraid or worried all the time can be a sign of an unbalanced first chakra. And to put it mildly, I was always worried. It was only after doing yoga for several weeks that this fear and paranoia mysteriously melted away, with no extra effort on my part. Yoga works to ground your body, balancing the first chakra.
According to Eastern philosophy, imbalances in our chakra system are the root of a lot of our problems. High stress levels can result in changes to our eating habits, and can lead to increased consumption of food that's high in sugar and fat. Yoga encourages breath awareness and strengthens the body-mind connection.
This can help us eat more mindfully, allowing us to experience the physical and emotional sensations associated with eating.
How Yoga Can Shape your Body
Not only do we get feel-good endorphins from yoga, but it can also help prevent depression and anxiety. One study indicated an association between yoga, increased GABA one of our primary neurotransmitters that acts to calm our central nervous system and reduced anxiety. Yoga can be a powerful way to keep stress in check as it helps us stay calm and relaxed in our daily lives.
The breathing techniques can bring our awareness back to the present moment and help us let go of worries. By being more present, we're not thinking about the past which can create stress or the future which can cause anxiety. Top Dems reject Acosta's account of Epstein plea, demand he resign. Epstein accuser says she was 15 when 'he forcibly raped me'.
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We tried vanilla milkshakes from 5 fast food restaurants. Over the next six months, he dropped pounds. Today Larry weighs pounds, and works in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation hospital, where he mentors young adults. But I learned to do yoga for me, to discipline myself for my own benefit. At 40, Rachel Eliason is a registered nurse, a budding writer, and the loving mother of a year-old son. But just four years ago, she was living her life as someone she wasn't—someone named Richard.
Yoga and meditation gave Rachel the insight to connect with the truth of who she really was, and the courage to embrace living her life as that person. Rachel was born a biological male and as an adult had gotten married and fathered a child, but she had struggled all of her life with confusion about her gender identity. After her divorce five years ago, she tried living life as a gay man, but still felt unsettled. I wasn't dealing with me. It was in meditation, she says, that she was able to see herself as a woman for the first time. It was a beautiful woman.
And I thought, 'Oh my God, is that who I am? The vision wasn't as much a surprise as it was confirmation of something she'd always known subconsciously, but it was the realization she needed to move forward.
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Maybe it was real. Maybe it could happen. Yoga helped me to inhabit my own body and just be myself," she says. Her practice also helped her become comfortable with the way her body naturally wanted to move and express itself. And yoga was a huge help in just that. Today, as the gender-transition process continues, Rachel is enjoying relief from the confusion that once overshadowed her. Her yoga practice is a constant reminder that achieving the truest expression of herself takes time. But we call it a 'transition,' because it's a process.
Nobody wants to go through months of being on hormones and getting ready to have surgery. But you have to start with where you are and what you've got. You have to be patient and let the process unfold. Poses by Anatomy. Poses by Level. The Yoga for You. Types of Poses. Yoga Sequences. Yoga by Benefit. Yoga for Beginners. Intermediate Yoga. Advanced Yoga. Yoga History of Yoga. Types of Yoga. Yoga Basics. Yoga FAQs. Benefits of Meditation. Guided Meditation. How to Meditate. Science of Meditation. Yoga Trends. Yoga for Athletes. Yoga Influencers.
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