An Exercise of Balance

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Yoga this month has been a joy. Although I haven’t done yoga every single day (our apartment flooded, so that’s been distracting us from pretty much everything), it has been a fun exercise of balance. I practice yoga not because I want ripped muscles or so I can be insanely flexible, but because yoga gives me a sense of balance.

And this month I definitely needed some balance. I finished up one of my last semesters of college a couple of weeks ago after writing and editing a 7500 word non-fiction piece in 7 weeks. Our apartment flooded and has been a livable disaster ever since. We’ve started the process of getting approved for a home loan so we can start looking for a new house. I narrowed the focus of this blog and wrote a manifesto of my purpose and plans for Quiet Habits. In short, it’s been a crazy month.

But through all of that, I’m not feeling too stressed or worn out. I can’t attribute that entirely to doing Yoga, but it sure has helped a ton this month with balance.

Yoga forces me to be present in the moment and to focus on my breathing and my body. Whether I’m in pain because a pose is stretching my embarrassingly inflexible limbs or because I’m relaxing muscles and slowing my breath, yoga grounds my mind and body in the present moment.

This month has been a joy as I’ve reconnected with the practice of yoga (it’s been a while since I’ve done yoga). If you are out of practice or have never tried yoga before, I would encourage you to give it a try. It’s easy and cheap (or even free) to get started and there are tutorials, videos and classes for all levels of experience.

Most of the yoga I’ve done this month has been following a video guide for a quick 4-minute sun salutation. I love the full body movement, both for flexibility and strength, from a short sun salutation. If you’re having trouble knowing where to start or getting started, I would recommend finding a 4-5 minute sun salutation to get your practice going. Try that every morning for a few weeks and see how it’s going. 5 minutes is such a short time that literally anybody can make time for it.

That was my key to success this month. I didn’t sign up for an expensive class that pushed my body for over an hour. I didn’t jump into expert lessons or videos. I didn’t buy any new gear or clothing. I kept it simple. I did one of three lessons on my yoga app in the morning (a few times at night) that were short but still provided a good mental and physical workout. Just long enough to get me sweating and bring me to the present moment, but short enough so I didn’t feel overwhelmed or get burned out.

I recommend keeping any yoga routine or any other exercise routine simple and short at first. Your habit will be more likely to stick and you’ll feel a lot better as you slowly improve and increase intensity.

 

I recommend Gaiam’s Yoga Studio app. I use it for most of my home yoga practice. For a few dollars you get access to tons of video, a practice calendar and much more. It’s worth the couple of dollars and it’s available on iPhone, Android and iPad. Get it here:

In July I’ll be meditating every day. The next 3 months are my months of mindfulness, where I’m trying to become more aware and mindful for a more peaceful and calmer life. Will you join me?

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