Yoga: My Stress Reliever

6734737765_6bf88bc00a_n Photo CC by Nadir Hashmi

Last week was a very stressful week for me. It seemed like everything that could have happened, happened. Unfortunately, that stress carried into this week. My huge fundraising project was coming up on Tuesday and I still had so much that needed done before even being slightly ready for the event. After a long day at work on Monday, I decided to take a break from all of the preparation and attend yoga class that night. There were new faces in class and they were all pretty much older than I am (I’m the youngest that attends the class but I’m totally fine with that!).

I didn’t expect to learn too many new poses for this week but was up for any new challenge my yoga instructor threw my way. To my surprise, we learned a new pose and it had to deal with releasing negative energy. How crazy is that? Sometimes it’s crazy how things work out.

Anyway, the pose was called Catching the Waves. My yoga instructor described it as taking all of your negative energy in your body and releasing it back into the earth. She told us to think of something in our life that is weighing us down and let all of that negativity go. I thought about all of the stress and negativity that had happened to me in the past week as I was doing this pose.

I can’t find a video to share to show what this pose looked like in action but I will try my very best to explain it. Stand with your feet spread apart, your right foot should be pointing forward and your left foot should be pointing out in front of you. As you inhale, bring your hands toward you and when you exhale push your hands away from you. Also when you are exhaling, bend your left knee and use your whole body to push the negative energy away from you. The hardest part to me about yoga is mastering the breathing! And that is a very crucial part for this pose.

It’s crazy how much better I felt after doing this yoga pose. I am so glad I went to yoga this week because it turned out to be exactly what I needed! I also did Yoga With Adriene videos a couple days out of the week and that helped decrease my stress level as well. For this upcoming week, I am going to focus on breathing techniques!

 

Just Keep Yoga-ing

Go, go, go. It seems that that is all I have been doing this summer. Between three summer classes and two part time jobs, I don’t have much time for anything else. If I’m not at work, I am at the library doing homework and vise versa. I keep telling myself that it is only for one summer so how horrible can it actually be? Well, it has been BEYOND horrible. I’m usually not one to be a ‘Negative Nancy’ but man has this summer been rough!

These past couple of weeks in particular have been testing my patience and determination to keep going. I have been stressed to the max and sometimes don’t know how much more I can handle! For one of my other online classes I am required to do a service learning project. I have decided to raise funds and collect food donations for the local Backpack Program in Alliance. I have been busy planning, organizing, and advertising for my fundraiser and it has taken up ALL of my free time. I’ve only had like 23 anxiety attacks in the last week but other than that it has been totally fine.

Okay, so you’re probably thinking something along the lines of, “why is Tessa using her blog as a place to rant and tell us how horribly stressed she is?” Although it may seem like it, I’m really not trying to be a negative and pessimistic person! The moral of the story is that yoga has helped me through all of it.

14113771269_d214da0a0e_n.jpg Photo CC by Renuka I

I only attended the Wednesday session since there were no classes on Monday, the 4th of July. This yoga session was much needed to say the least. Everything about the session was so peaceful and calming and it was exactly what I needed after a busy week. Instead of focusing on mastering the poses I have learned in the past couple of sessions, I decided to focus on just being there. I was physically there but I wanted my entire being to be there; my body, my mind, my heart. I let go of all of my stress and frustrations and just focused on relaxing. It was so amazing to clear my mind and I could seriously feel all of the tension leave my body. How awesome is that?

So after my class at the gym, I decided my goal for the rest of the week is to try yoga to help my anxiety and stress. Thanks to Professor Ellington, I had the perfect resource for the job. Yoga with Adriene is a YouTube account by a lady who provides FREE yoga videos. She also has a website you can check out here. As I was looking through her YouTube videos, I came across “Yoga For Anxiety and Stress.” I can’t say enough how much I loved this video! It was short and sweet but still gave me the perfect amount of relaxation to help start my day. After completing these videos, I felt like a completely different person. It didn’t completely take away my stress and anxiety, but it gave me a sort of peace and relaxation to deal with the rest of my week. Along with completing these yoga videos, I also practiced positive thinking. I believe that positivity is key and once I removed all of the negative thoughts out of my mind, I was able to focus on positivity and relaxation.

I am sorry you all had to read through my boring and dreadful “rant” but I wanted to show you how amazing and beneficial yoga really can be. It doesn’t matter if you are dealing with stress, anxiety, migraines, etc. You name it and there’s yoga out there for exactly that. If you don’t have access to a yoga class in your area, I highly recommend subscribing to Yoga with Adriene and searching her videos to find a yoga video that suits you. I encourage you all to try yoga and experience the greatness for yourself!

 

 

Getting Back on Track

Have you every tried something for the first time and wondered where it’s been your entire life? That’s exactly how I feel about yoga. I absolutely love it! Even though I have only been to two yoga classes, I still give myself a hard time for not trying it sooner in life. I can’t get enough of it.

I’m the type of person that worries about mastering new skills that I have learned. I always want to be good at it after the first couple of times I have tried it and often become frustrated when I can’t master it. Yoga is different. Even during the first class, I was never worried about perfecting the moves. I wasn’t even the slightest bit worried about performing as good as the other yoga class attendees. Nothing runs through my head and it is like my mind clears as soon as the class starts. It’s such an amazing feeling because I don’t worry about anything and everything is so simple.

15822085434_47072230fe_z Photo by- Zoltán Gál

Unlike last week, there was quite a few people at yoga class this week. Most of them were older women from my community and I knew most of them because I live in a pretty small town! I’ve always been uncomfortable working out in front of people and have always had trouble attending fitness classes like these. But again, yoga is different and I feel at ease when I am there.

The next part of my ILP is making healthy eating choices. This week I have tried really hard to cut out carbs, sugar, and dairy. I have been eating more fruits and vegetables and smaller portions. I find it extremely hard to completely cut something out of my diet so I am slowly trying it one step at a time. I went gluten free and dairy free for a month this past winter and I can’t believe how different and amazing I felt while not eating those foods. I have some what of a dairy and gluten intolerance anyway but nothing serious enough where I can’t eat it. I just don’t feel the greatest after I eat but I still eat it anyway. Smart, I know. I lost ten pounds in one month just by cutting out gluten and dairy and my goal is get back to that type of eating. One downfall that comes with it is that it is so expensive! I’m a poor college student that can barely afford my rent let alone fresh fruits, veggies, and gluten and dairy free foods.

After slowly adjusting myself to yoga and getting back on track to eating healthy, I am excited to see what this upcoming week has in store for me and I can’t wait to share it with all of you!

Becoming a “Yogi”

After contemplating for hours last week on what my ILP should be, I decided to try yoga. I’ve tried yoga before by watching dvd’s but I wanted to attend an actual yoga class. My work schedule conflicted with yoga class on Monday night so I was not able to go.

Instead, I busied myself with researching about what yoga is and its history. Wikipedia defines yoga as “a physical, mental, and spiritual practice or discipline which originated in ancient India.” It is uncertain to how old Yoga actually is but there is evidence that it existed as early as 3000 B.C. Yoga’s main goal was to focus on understanding the world but the goal later changed. It is now used for self-enlightenment. Swami Sivananda created five basic yoga principles; proper relation, proper exercise, proper breathing, proper diet, positive thinking and meditation. I think a professional yogi has mastered all of these concepts and I strive to someday be like them!

9117978909_3a5bb648fc_c.jpg Photo CC-By Patrick Savalle

Another thing I was not aware of before learning more about yoga was that there are many different types of yoga. There is yoga for weightloss, stress, flexibility, and the list goes on and on! It’s crazy to me that something that has been around for so long still helps so many people today.

Like I said before, I was not able to make it to the Monday night yoga session but I was able to attend the one on Wednesday night. There was a total of three people there; the instructor, a lady from my church, and myself. It was really nice to have a small group because I get super nervous when there are a lot of people at an event. We started the hour off with some stretching and relaxation. The instructor was very helpful with making sure I was doing the poses right and answered any questions I had. One thing that is very crucial in yoga is making sure you are breathing correctly. I had some trouble with this but I think with more practice I will eventually master it. For the next hour, we worked on balance, flexibility, and strength. For the last ten minutes of the session we stretched and relaxed. We laid completely still for a full five minutes and I almost fell asleep!

I absolutely loved this yoga class. I felt rejuvenated and relaxed all at the same time when it was over. As for the second part of my ILP, I did not get to it this week but stay tuned because I plan on spending more time in the kitchen this upcoming week! I am so excited to attend my yoga class again and share what I have learned!

So Many Passions, So Little Time

7320447784_5f33714a67_n  Photo CC- By Caitlin ‘Caity’ Tobias

Like many other people, I have many passions. I enjoy stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things. I’m always willing to learn something new and weirdly, it makes me feel more complete when I do learn something new. I love doing so many different things but have yet to master most of them. The list includes sewing, cooking, photography, crocheting, a new language, etc.

As I was thinking about what to choose for my independent learning project, I made a list of what I could fit into my schedule without overloading myself. Working two part time jobs and taking three online summer classes isn’t the most ideal situation so I wanted  to pick something I enjoyed but something I had never tried before.

Upon moving back to my hometown for the summer, I joined a gym right down the street from my apartment. I try to make it a priority to workout five days a week but with my busy schedule it isn’t always easy. Fortunately, the gym that I joined offers fun cardio/fitness classes a few times a week. The best part is that the first time you try each class it’s FREE! This broke college girl is happy. As I was looking through the list of classes, I saw YOGA. This immediately stuck out to me because I have always wanted to try yoga and learn more about it. I have done some yoga DVD’s but I think I would learn more with an actual instructor.

Yoga class is offered two nights a week for an hour each night. So what am I going to do with my other two hours? Another thing I struggle with is eating healthy. You can workout seven days a week and do as many extra physical activities as possible but none of that matters if you don’t take it serious in the kitchen. So for the next two hours I am going to spend 2-3 nights a week in the kitchen trying new healthy and delicious recipes. Since I am so busy they will most likely be quick and easy recipes.

I am excited for this independent learning project because I am choosing things that I have wanted to try a long time ago. I am ready to get my life back on track to a healthy lifestyle and have fun doing it!