I always thought that yoga was for people who lived in tropical places or in the jungle, for people who have huge dreads piled up on the top of their heads and walk around naked with beads hanging off their body. I imagined they’d say “namaste” instead of goodbye and eat only raw vegan foods. That lifestyle does sound pretty interesting, but I live in Maine where it’s cold for nine months out of the year and I just can’t help myself to a good cheeseburger. Despite not matching up to what my expectations were, yoga found me at a time in my life that I really needed it and I don’t think I could live without it at this point.
I’ve heard a lot about people who started yoga because they had physical problems that led them to a type of exercise that was easy on their ailment. This was not the case for me.
I have always been hyperactive, ever since I was a child I rushed through everything. I wanted to be the first one done, the first one to find the missing piece, the first one to tell a story. As I got older and my school work began to get harder my parents were constantly told by my teachers “Cori is rushing through her school work and doing it wrong, if she just slowed down…”
But I couldn’t slow down, I have always been rushing. If I’m on foot I’m running, in my car I’m going fifteen over the speed limit. If I’m hand writing something my penmanship is barely legible because my brain works faster than my hand. Age 22 and 23 was a strange time in my life, a lot of things in my personal life were stressing me to the point of physical sickness, I was debating going back to school and trying to do something with my life that was worth while. I spoke to my doctor and she diagnosed me with ADHD. This diagnosis was no surprise to me but I was resistant against taking any medication because I had lived 23 years of my life without needing it. The fact that I was always in a hurry seemed to bother everyone else more than it bothered me.
My mind was constantly racing with all the stress that was piled on top of me, past and present. I took to being in a constant state of intoxication, basically being drunk for the entire year of 2015. Stress didn’t go away but I was having fun and partying a lot trying to ignore the problems in my life that became too overwhelming. Eventually my body began rejecting alcohol and I quit all together. (That’s another story).
I always liked yoga but never did it consistently, but when drinking and smoking my problems away stopped working I found myself desperate for something to calm my mind that could not coming up with unlikely scenarios that gave me anxiety. I started to force myself to do yoga at least once a day, all the while I was thinking “deep breathing and stretching is supposed to help me?” it didn’t seem realistic. But I continued hoping that it could help me like I had heard it helped other people as well.
Something about concentrating on breathing erases everything else from my mind, then stretching out the tension in my muscles makes me loose and calm. I can see a difference in my demeanor from regularly doing yoga, and sometimes when I just emotionally can’t handle certain things I find a place alone and I do my practice. It doesn’t make things go away but it helps me deal with them. Sometimes I think that as humans we forget that we are one being. Yes, we have a mind, body and spirit but all those things make up one person. If you relax your mind you relax your body and vice versa, exercise is good in any capacity whether it be for your head or your heart.
Anyone trying to find a way to overcome life’s inevitable obstacles, I would recommend giving yoga a try. Just sit down and stretch while you breathe, take a class, look up videos on Youtube. I can’t say that all my anxieties disappeared but I can say that I have them under control, just stretch and breath through the stressful times.