I have spent the better part of the last 15 years learning about yoga, mindfulness, nutrition, movement and the connections between our mind and body. Today I watched three different documentaries that all lead to the same conclusion that I have over these years. Our MIND can help to heal our BODY and our BODY can help to heal our MIND!
It is an amazing journey to take and one that takes a bit to buy into. Recently, I have heard more than one story about how yoga, gentle movement(like walking), meditation and a whole foods diet can have a profound effect on our mindset and our physical health. IT IS TRULY AMAZING!
I had a student walk into a yoga class a few months ago. She filled out her form and I scanned it quickly for injuries or health conditions that might require modifications in her practice. Luckily, she had walked into my foundations class. This is the class I teach that is for absolutely anyone. We modify, we talk, we work through poses. I make yoga work for you no matter what your fitness level or age is. Anyway, after quickly scanning and seeing nothing out of the ordinary, I welcomed her to class. She placed herself in the front of the room so she could see me. She carefully and mindfully followed my cues, asked questions to make poses work for her and seemed to genuinely enjoy her first yoga experience!
Later that evening, as I sat down to add her to my email list and send her a thank you note, I read the entire registration form. She had recently lost her spouse, who was also her best friend. She had been struggling with anxiety and depression and felt the full force effects of grief as no one can understand unless you are the one dealing with it. Each of us manifest and deal with our grief in a different way, and all we can do is say “I am here”. There are no other words.
I sat down to send the thank you email with tears in my eyes. Still in the throws of dealing with my own grief over the loss of my grandson (it has been 2 years today since we lost him. I have spent much of the day in or close to tears), I needed to find a way to help her manage her grief. I asked her to join me for a 30 minute private session so that I could give her a sequence that addressed grief directly. She welcomed the opportunity and we scheduled to meet the following Monday.
She came in and looked different than the first time she had been in the studio. She look happier. As we settled in to go through the practice I had set up for her, she told me “I came in to class one person last week, and I left another. I felt lighter somehow…happier. Yoga changed me in a way I can’t explain.” I was so touched by her honesty and her willingness to open up to the practice of yoga. She tells all of her friends about the transformation! She has also made some other lifestyle changes that have lead her down the path to take better care of herself in many ways outside of yoga. This is an example of how the body can help the mind deal.
My personal journey with yoga has lead me down a variety of paths. Most recently working more with people in the total mind-body connection as it relates to grief and trauma. The truth of the matter is, that how we treat our body has a profound effect on how we manage to deal with grief, trauma, stress, depression and with many physical illnesses as well. Not only the physical movement, but what we put into our bodies as well.
I have related my story in previous blog posts about my struggles with both my weight and with alcohol. It is yoga and mindfulness, along with staying focused on a whole foods diet that helps me to keep those things in check as best I can. I again had recently, have fallen down the “eat junk rabbit hole”. I was cooking amazing food for everyone else, not leaving time to create good meals for myself! Strange, I know, but after a full day of cooking, and subsequently selling all of the amazing food, I would find myself at home rummaging through the cupboard for something to eat! Usually something less than healthy for me. Wine was my friend as well. When under stress, nothing makes you feel better than to drink a bottle of a good Syrah to numb your mind. I am you understand, being sarcastic. That is all it does, numbs your mind. It doesn’t help to resolve the problem, or clear your head.
Yoga does that. So does making sure you fill your body with fresh, healthy food! The documentaries I watched today had story after story about people who had found health through adversity, through illness and challenges that their doctors gave them no hope for healing, but they did!
After thinking through what I watched today, I realized that you, as an individual, have to be READY for that healing to occur. You have to be open to allowing the mind-body connection to do its work. You have to be ready to do the work too!
I have committed to 2017 being a year of letting my mind and body work together to heal. Of course the trauma and grief don’t go away, but by allowing yourself to work through them in a variety of healthy ways, you can create your new sense of normal. By opening your mind to the opportunities available when you find a yoga practice, start meditating or revamp your diet, you can find a healthier, happier you and it might not take as long as you think!
Are you ready to start? Why don’t you join me in 2017!! Visit my website at www.yogafitnesswellness.com to join my email list! There is lots of new stuff on the horizon there as well. Meals (prepared or planned), yoga (group, private or virtual), sauna, health coaching, wellness products…MAKE A COMMITMENT TO YOURSELF!! Just get on the list!
Have a wonderful 2017