Namas...WHAT?!

She believed she could so she did.

          In 2015 I was a sophomore at UNCC. At the time I was having a very hard time coping with the everyday stress and anxiety of school work, and life in general and I soon found myself in a place with my back against the wall. I couldn't focus if my life depended on it and I had zero motivation to continue on with school. After careful thought and advice from my parents I decided it would be best if I took time away from school and focused on myself. At the time this decision made me feel like a failure. What was I doing wrong? Why was I so upset? My brain felt jumbled and exhausted. My shoulders weak from the weight i'd been carrying around on my shoulders. I cried. I cried a lot. Was I disappointing my parents? Was I disappointing myself? For a while I felt lost. I felt misunderstood. And I felt angry.
          In 2015 I decided to take my stress and anxiety into my own hands. I did a little research and soon found myself reading article, after article, about yoga, and how a daily practice could help relieve these everyday pains. How?! I had no idea. But what did I have to lose? I started where I was with what I had. I rolled out my mat, sat on my booty, and practiced the most basic stretches. I had no idea what I was doing. I had no idea if it would even help me. But what I did know is that I wanted change, I craved change. I knew that where I was and what I was feeling wasn’t me, and if I wanted a different outcome, I would need to do something I had never done before. So I gave yoga a chance. I made yoga a priority. I rolled out my mat every day, closed my eyes, calmed my breathing, and stretched.
          I couldn’t touch my toes. But that didn’t matter. What mattered was my effort. Yoga soon became more than just something I felt obligated to do. It became something I wanted to do. Every time I sat down I could immediately feel the atmosphere change. My worries washed away and space was created for growth, knowledge, and creativity. I found acceptance in my practice, that where I was, was where I needed to be. I acknowledged that my journey was different, but it wasn’t wrong. And soon I wasn’t practicing to relieve stress, I was practicing to become stronger, mentally, physically, and emotionally.
          I began using Instagram as a way to mirror other women that were practicing yoga, I’d watch what they were doing and then try it on my own. I loved a challenge, and I loved the fire burning in my belly urging me to keep going, to keep learning, to keep trying, to keep failing, and to keep on keeping on. I downloaded the app yoga.com and also fell in love with YouTube sensation Sarah Beth Yoga. I used this information as something to fall back on. The rest was me. I kept my eyes open, I talked less, and listened more. Fear was no longer a part of me. I looked forward to falling, I looked forward to failing, because this just meant I was one step closer to succeeding.

          Today yoga is just one of my many passions. I always look forward to turning off the lights, turning up the music, and just flowing. Whenever I feel tense, upset, or confused, I know that yoga will wither away my worries and point me towards the light. By no means is yoga a quick fix to all your problems, but with time and effort yoga can be that magical medicine you’re looking for. Yoga is a journey, an ambitious one at that. But I would highly, highly, recommend the practice to anybody, everybody, stress or no stress. Yoga is a light, a light that will only enhance yours, and remind you the importance, no, no, the need to…#Shineeverydamnday!!

Q&A:

 

  1. How did you start and progress with handstands. Did you combine working out with yoga? If so… how did you know when you were ready to advance to another level?
    1. I began working towards handstands by calculating what I needed to achieve first. It didn’t take long (one handstand attempt) for me to realize I had zero upper body strength. So step 1 was obvious. Build strength. I tackled this issue by creating 20 minute high intensity interval workouts that were bodyweight/yoga exercised based. Aka. TRAIN LIKEAGIRL.
    2. I broke the handstand down into three different arm balances. Headstand, forearm stand, handstand. I began with a headstand, striving to find my balance and core strength. Once I was able to hold my headstand I moved onto the forearm stand which took a lot more upper body strength. It took me awhile to be able to master a forearm stand, but with months of practice and training I eventually did it. Next, was the handstand which required full body strength, balance, and courage. This was my longest inversion journey yet, taking 17 months to finally stick a hold that I could be proud of.

     

  2. What would you recommend for someone who wants to do yoga but has little to no space and home with no toga studios in town?
    1. Download the app Yoga.com …there are several different programs you can follow along with.
    2. Sarah Beth Yoga is my favorite YouTube channel! Her flows are awesome and they get the job done.
    3. TRAIN LIKEAGIRL is the perfect home training program to build the full body strength you’ll need to take your yoga practice to the next level.

     

 

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