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namas-day: yoga for stress relief

Posted Mar 11 2013 8:32am


As you probably already know, I started practicing yoga when I began graduate school. Before that, I thought yoga was a bunch of hooey, like a lot of people who have never tried it think.

Nearly two years later, here I am! In one piece! Sane! Back from my last ever spring break and about to embark on a tough last few weeks of school!

What will I do this morning, before I dive back into my studies?

Hit the mat, of course.

Yoga has offered me stress relief. Any time I go to class, I can typically set aside those 75 minutes for me and no one else. I concentrate on my body, my breathing, and for once, allow my brain to shut off. That's why, even though the thought of not getting much work done this morning kind of freaks me out, I'm forcing myself to not think about time "lost" and just get to the studio. I'll be more productive and happier all day if I practice.

But yoga doesn't only include what you do on the mat. I risk sounding a little cultish when I say this, but yoga is a lifestyle. Yoga teaches you to treat yourself and others with respect, approach daily interactions with positivity and understanding, allowing for imperfection and the basic humanity of those that surround you.

Without yoga, every time I felt slighted, exhausted, overworked, underwhelmed, or upset for whatever reason (and believe me, during grad school these times were numerous), I would have lost valuable time for work and relaxing by worrying and stressing. Instead, I took a few deep breaths and moved on.

Don't get me wrong, yoga isn't a cure all. I still freak out! I still have bad days! But all that means is I'm still living. And yoga allows me to live in balance. 
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