I primarily attend yoga classes for mental relaxation. The encouraging meditations soothe my racing mind. The soft music lulls me into a place of comfort. The palo santo helps me focus on deep cleansing breaths and long, lingering exhales.
But last week, I went to class to sweat.
I needed to get out of my head and focus on my body and movement. I could tell that my mental stress was at such an elevated level that it was causing excessive tension in my physical body, and that’s what I needed to work on relaxing that day.
Although this focus was a huge shift from my norm, it felt right.
As I reached for my toes in a seated forward bend, I paid attention to the lengthening of my hamstrings and the tightness in my calves. As I rotated into spinal twists, I used my breath to slowly chip away at the tension, decreasing its severity bit by bit with each exhale. As I stood firm-footed in my warrior pose, I took a second glance at my back foot alignment and straightened my arms a little bit more to perfect the physical stance.
I placed all of my awareness on my body and how it felt and moved; I wasn’t focusing on the ruminating thoughts that had kept me awake most of the night before. When I noticed this shift, I smiled. Of course, the mental concerns still existed, but they had softened — just like my muscles.
Dang, the mind-body connection is so cool.
At the end of class, we relaxed in savasana. As the beads of sweat dried on my face I noticed that I was able to relax fully, both mentally and physically. My mind hadn’t felt this clear in days even though I spent the last hour focusing on unwinding the knots in my muscles.
I’m thankful I listened to my intuition and used the class to pay closer attention to my physical body. It’s exactly what my mind needed.
Until next time,
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