Finding Balance On and Off the Mat

It took me three years from my first yoga class to commit to a daily yoga practice, and oh how I wish I had begun sooner….but now, as I prep for my wedding in two weeks, I’m enjoying a moment to reflect on how far I’ve come…on how yoga has helped me change for the better to bring me to this happy place.

First, yoga brought my exercise addiction into perspective, but later I ushered in my 31st birthday without temptations for tequila and avoided a nasty hangover.

The hardest habit for me to kick--and the one you can probably best relate to--was COFFEE! I felt like coffee was my best friend, but what a dysfunctional relationship! Caffeine made me sweat profusely on the mat, and it gave me heart palpitations during my practice and when I would try to sleep at night. It also made me edgy and irritable in my work and relationships. Last year I said bye-bye to Joe, and I’ve been healthier ever since.

Yoga doesn’t magically give you healthier habits, but the release of tension from even a few poses a day can make it easier to make better choices. I promise you, a regular practice rescues you from emotional traps leading to bad habits—big or small.

Are you ready to shake free from an unhealthy habit? Here are three ways yoga can help:

Meditate in the morning
Give it just 5 to 10 minutes first thing in the morning and/or right before bed. Focus on the breath and the mantra:
"I AM" on the inhale
"Free" on the exhale

Alcohol Anonymous said it best, ""You're best thinking got you here," which means the thought patterns that lead you to the addiction, can't lead you away from the addiction. Because addictions begin in the mind, therefore they need to end in the mind first, before the body can be free of them. There must be a shift in consciousness (thinking) and this is what meditation does.

Restore and release
In yoga, we believe the second chakra, right below the navel, relates to addictive patterns. To help balance out your second chakra so it doesn't drive you to seek physical pleasures, lie on your back in supta badha konasas (Butterfly on your back, resting the palms on your knees). Close your eyes and breathe slow, deep breaths into the area below the navel.

Seal it in Savasana
Lie back in Savasana and repeat the mantra, "I AM DIVINE LOVE (or Ahum Prema in Sanskrit).  When you are filled with love from the divine and yourself, there is less of a chance you’ll feel the need to self medicate.



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