Rolling out of bed in the morning wasn't always easy for me. Besides the fact that I had to get out from under the comforter, it was painful. My hips and knees were always tight and achy, so the first moments of the day were filled with discomfort. And moving around in pain can really make you feel old.
I started doing yoga just after I turned 40. I had just come back from a week at Rancho La Puerta where I ate clean food, went on sunrise hikes, swam, did pilates and yoga, and spent a lot of time walking the grounds in a blissful glow. I learned some things about my aging body (like how yoga was a better option for me than jogging) and wanted to bring those lessons home and incorporate them into my daily life.
On my walks to the beach back at home, I always passed by a small yoga studio. One of those mornings, the owner, Mary was out front working on her plants. I stopped and chatted her up and began going to her sunrise yoga class soon after. Mary reiterated what I had learned at The Ranch and told me how my body would transform if I kept a daily practice. I wasn't really sure MY body would do what HER body did. But she was right. I was in the best shape of my life-after-kids. The morning aches were gone, but more than that, I felt that bliss that I felt at The Ranch. That feeling got me through my day. That quiet time in the morning was a time of reflection and meditation, as much as it was a time to tone my 40-year-old body.
When I moved away from that little cottage by the beach, the thing I was saddest about was that Mary's little studio was going to be too far for me to visit every morning before sunrise. There were other studios nearby, but life started getting busier with work and the kids. My yoga practice fell off my daily to-do list. There was a general feeling of uneasiness permeating my life at the time; an imbalance. Lots of external stressors were making their way into my body and mind. Then one day, I went to put my favorite pair of pants on. They didn't fit well AT ALL!
I started doing a search of local yoga studios and times that they offered classes. There weren't any Vinyasa Flow early in the morning, which was the style and time that worked best for me. I was starting to get a little frustrated, but eventually, my search led me to an on-line solution:
MyYogaOnLine.com (now under the main site at GaiamTV)
I signed up and began doing my early morning yoga at home. It was great at first, but as much as I know in my heart how good yoga is for my mind and body, I still allowed life to get in the way and didn't always get to my daily morning yoga. Mornings started feeling painful again and that feeling of stress invading my psyche was back. I was out of balance again and needed a little inspiration to get back on track.
A couple of months ago, GaiamTV did a 30-Day-Challenge. THIS was what I needed! I joined the challenge and by the fourth day, I was feeling all the goodness that yoga does flowing back into my life. Getting out of bed didn't hurt any more, I was standing taller, sleeping better, and feeling calmer. I'm currently in the 21 Day Balanced You series, and yes, I am feeling balanced again.
The benefits of yoga aren't just physical. I mean, sure, my body looks much better when I'm at it every day. Everything you wear looks better with a flat tummy and a yoga booty! But besides that, that time in the morning when I'm following along with the instructor leading me in poses, I'm listening to their words. They aren't just about the pose. "Open your heart... look to the sky... get grounded... breathe in the day..." Those words are about the practice, but they're instructions on living a more balanced life. Every morning, I breathe it all in and stretch it all out and at the end of the video, I walk into my day feeling good all over.
If you're not feeling quite right and you can't quite put your finger on it, a daily yoga practice might be what your body and mind need. I highly recommend the 21-Day Balanced You series on GaiamTV. Take the BalancedYou quiz while you're there. (I'm a Shakti Surfer!) The great thing about these classes being on demand is that you can start whenever you want, at whatever time works best for you. And GaiamTV has a huge library of inspiration articles and videos to keep us all inspired to maintain that balance.
Do you have a favorite yoga style? Is there a class you take that you love? How does yoga help you stay balanced? I'd love to hear from you. Until then...
This is a sponsored post. I'm working with GaiamTV to promote their current series of classes, as well as their extensive library of articles and movies. Follow the conversation on Twitter with #MyYoga and #BalancedYou