By: Hannah Harms

We all go through times of adjustment and change. We switch careers after years of planning. We learn that someone close to us is struggling with addiction. We are developing a relationship with someone we care about deeply. It can be challenging to take care of ourselves when dealing with stressful and overwhelming situations, but there are ways to combat the negative effects our minds and bodies experience.

Yoga always seemed intimidating to me – like some kind of not-quite-sport for people more bendy than me, twisting themselves into crazy positions just for the heck of it. I knew nothing about it, clearly. I finally took a chance and went to a class. I felt I was drowning in relationship and job issues, which took a real toll on my mental and emotional states, and, thus, my sleep and eating habits. Plus I was surrounded by the depressing dark depth of winter. I went to a class with a friend, and I can remember how totally soothed I felt as we settled into shavasana at the end.

Yoga allows the mind to center completely on the body and its needs. It says, “Breathe. Know you are okay. Steady yourself.” The poses move and stretch the body, releasing tensions and pressures that we collect all too easily. They challenge the ways that our bodies are accustomed to moving, gradually strengthening and focusing in order to accomplish something incredible. Standing tree pose. A headstand. Maybe just even not shaking quite so violently as we hold our warrior pose. The movement improves the flow of blood and oxygen and massages our internal organs.  Mental and physical both benefit as we slow down. As we push ourselves just a bit to learn how to simply be.

Check back in for the next posting in this little care-for-yourself series – aromatherapy!

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