Yoga comes from the sanskrit word meaning to “unite.” Yoga in a sense helps unite our minds with our bodies. The integrated movement with conscious breathing and concentration create a powerful internal relaxation effect. Just think about the last time you really focused on your breathing — making it whole and conscious. Sure, you might have huffed and puffed on your way up the stairs today, or maybe you are more athletic and your breathing felt off while you were on a run. The breath is an integral part of yoga, but so is stretching your limits and testing your boundaries. But who has time for yoga?
Every single day patients come into my office feeling stressed by their lives. Here in New York City, where almost everyone has a demanding job, stress might as will be a family member living with you. Stress is present everyday, from navigating public transportation to get to work on time, to meeting the demands of your never-satisfied boss, to working on deadline after deadline without any respite. It seems that there is no escape from stress. Work follows you home on your blackberry or your laptop. Stress meets you at home with your imperfect relationship, or your crying toddler who won’t go to bed. Surrounded by tall buildings, you cave into yourself, your breathing becomes shallow, and you retreat into a world where there is no outlet for the unsettled energy. With no time to exercise, stress-reduction becomes the glass of wine at night that slowly over a month’s period becomes two, then possibly (before you know it) the entire bottle.
Stress management = time management. No one has any time to do anything, but when you analyze your life, can you honestly say that you don’t have or won’t make the time to be healthy? As a caller to a recent Doctor Radio Show [SiriusXM] I was a guest on said, “I walk every morning, because I don’t have the time to be sick.” Stress management is about boundaries — being able to take some time to separate oneself from the stressor. This is where yoga is a perfect stress-management tool. It is dedicated time away from your wired life. Movement with intentional breathing create a flow in the body, loosens up tight muscle, and frees the mind from the constraints of your insular world. Ending a yoga class with a meditation (which is how most are concluded) is exactly what everyone with a hectic life needs. Yoga brings all these things together with a shared intention of healing, relaxation and renewal. Regular yoga can have the same effect as anti-anxiety medication and an anti-depressant. There is no substitute for feeling united, integrated, and reconnected with your whole being. Life is bigger, greater than your daily stress.
So what are you waiting for? Make the time. Go take a yoga class. Reunite with your true self. You will feel better after the first, and you will feel even better after 1 month of consistently doing yoga. It’s not going to happen miraculously some time in the future. Make it happen. The time is NOW to create balance in your life.