Do you ever just take a moment out of your day for yourself? I’m talking about a moment when there are literally no distractions–no cell phone, no computer, no form of social media to check, no family member vying for your attention. A moment that you can just think, really think. To think about your life and what intent you have for it. To think about who you are and who you want to be. To think about the world around you and how it has amazed you lately. A moment to just BE.
This is something that I rarely used to do. Though I took time out for myself, I was constantly connected in some way. I would write, but my cell would be sitting next to me. I would paint, but my computer would be playing my latest jam in the background. I never just took time–silent, uninterrupted time–to just BE. Understandably so. In today’s world there are a million different media outlets trying to grab our attention for that moment. And as hard as we may try, it is difficult to completely unplug and not think about what we may be missing in the digital world.
I recently began making hot yoga a part of my life routine. Doing this has forced me to take that moment for myself. I force myself, regardless of what is going on in the week, to take that moment to challenge myself not only physically but mentally and emotionally.
As a former collegiate athlete I am used to sweating, hard workouts and strenuous activity. So naturally I thought that I would be great. However, it was a completely different feeling. The room was unbelievably hot, unlike most gyms I had ever been in. Though at first I thought the heat would be too much, it actually became enjoyable. The postures I attempted were working muscles in a completely different way than weight lifting and running ever could. More than anything it was a test to my flexibility. I have never been flexible, a fact that has, in part, hindered my athletic performance. However, the consistent stretching that hot yoga provided me improved my flexibility immensely and in the end improved my athletic performance as well.
Though it was a physical challenge unlike anything I had ever experienced, the hardest part for me was the mental and emotional challenge I was faced with.
Each class is started with an intention–your intention for your practice for that day. At first I had a hard time with this concept. Was it a wish? Was it something I really wanted to happen? If I make my intention to win a million dollars, would it come true? Eventually I understood that it was a dedication. Something or someone that you wanted to dedicate your positive energy to. Something that is dear to your heart or something that has been on your mind a lot lately. These things tend to be emotionally linked, and for me, that was always the case. While in my practice, emotions that I had not given myself the time to deal with surfaced. I had not given myself just a moment to unplug from the world and deal with what was going on in my heart. So I began making my intention the things that I had hidden behind my smile and positive personality. I forced myself to dedicate my practice and positive energy to the not so positive things in my life or the things that I really struggled with. Not surprisingly after every class that I did this, I felt so much better. The physical and emotional challenge that I encountered each time eventually brought me a feeling of peace. In those moments I was able to let go of those not so positive things by dedicating positive energy towards it, and become grateful for the experience and the lessons it taught me.
Take some time for yourself this week. Even if it is just a moment that you spend alone with your thoughts.
And if you are like me and need an outside source to help you take that time for yourself, look into hot yoga. If you are in an area that has a Moksha Yoga studio, definitely try it out. Moksha’s “commitment to ethical, compassionate and environmentally conscious living” and “belief that the benefits of yoga are limitless and accessible to all” makes it an incredible community to be a part of. They have truly helped me to become conscious of how much taking a moment out of your day or even your week, unplugged from it all, can help to live a well balanced healthy (physical and emotional) life.