September is National Yoga Awareness Month

Happy September, also knows as National Yoga Awareness Month!

When I look at how I manage the everyday juggle and grind, there is one thing that keeps me most grounded through it all. There is one thing, that no matter how stressed I am, or how frazzled I may be, that literally transforms my entire aura.

That’s yoga.

About 17 years ago, I was close to burning out. Literally. I don’t think anyone knew just how close I was. I owned a successful company, sales growing by the quarter. I was named one of the Top 30 Under 30 Entrepreneurs. Top 40 Under 40 Nominee. I graced the cover of multiple business sections in newspapers. I was named a Profit Hot 50 CompanyOne of Canada’s 50 Emerging Growth Companies– I was the only female CEO on the list. And more. I was newly married. I had no kids.

But the more my company grew, the more felt like I was burning out. I wasn’t sleeping at night, and my mind was consumed by the business 24/7.  I started to see a therapist who told me to create a “Worry List” on my nightstand. The Worry List worked as follows: When my thoughts kept me up at night, the idea was to transfer them from my head, onto paper, to worry about them at another time (not during my sacred time, when I deserved to sleep).

She also told me to try something else. Yoga. And so I did. I  hired a private yoga instructor to come to my house twice a week. I did prenatal yoga throughout both my pregnancies. I now do yoga at my gym or at home. And ever since that near burnout, I have never stopped doing yoga.

So, In honor of National Yoga Awareness Month, I wanted to perhaps turn YOU onto yoga. And give you some tips. Yoga could change your life.

If you think you won’t enjoy it, or that it’s not a workout, or that you won’t get toned, or if you think yoga is for weirdos, I want to leave you with 5 reasons… WHY YOGA?

  1. Simply put… yoga will make you feel better. And not just right after you finish a class or your own practice. This feeling carries you throughout your day. Scientific studies have shown the benefits of yoga on overall health, over and over again. It literally cleanses your organs, and yes, EVEN HELPS HANGOVERS! Yoga has been studied to help cure depression as well. Susan Orem, a yoga teacher in New York City and the owner of the Heathen Hill yoga retreat in the Catskills, says that a brief 20- to 30-minute yoga sequence that includes sun salutations, along with a few good twists and restorative poses, may bring extreme relief. (New York Times).
  2. There are many different yoga practices. Try them, and find a practice that you enjoy. I have linked you to different types and styles of yoga- click here. I have yet to try Bikram yoga or yin yoga. The yoga practice I did for years is called ashtanga yoga, or power yoga and the last few years I enjoy a great vinyasa flow. But there are benefits to all the different types. I will be teaching a weekly hot vinyasa flow class starting next Monday.
  3. You don’t have to spend lots of money on yoga to re-balance yourself. You can create your own yoga space. All you need is a good yoga mat, a space to call your own, some water, perhaps a nice smelling candle, and a good DVD or app.  I discovered yoga for stress relief purposes, and a friend of mine who did the same, told me about this yoga DVD for stress relief. But there are a ton on the market, and one great app is called Downward Dog. Additionally, if you turn on your TV in the early am, chances are, you can catch one live. I find TV yoga quite easy, so if I’m too lazy to go to a yoga class at the gym, I will do the thirty minute TV yoga, and add some harder poses at the end to further challenge myself.
  4. Yoga is truly for EVERYONE- young and old. Beside making you feel better, yoga will build your strength and flexibility, and I say it again… decrease stress! Yoga promotes a balance between the mind, body, and spirit FOR ALL WHO PRACTICE IT REGULARLY. And I will be honest, yoga WILL give you a longer, leaner body, and promote better posture (if you combine it with healthy eating). So even if you do yoga as your ‘workout,’ (another reason I did yoga at the beginning), over time, you will feel all those other benefits as well.
  5. It takes time, so give it a chance. It WILL feel weird at the beginning. You’re gonna laugh, you’re gonna feel uncomfortable at the beginning. It’s pretty much a guarantee.  You might feel very inflexible and very tight in your muscles and joints. But give it time. It just takes time. Be open.

This picture was taken this morning.

Here you have advanced yogi teacher on the left, Natalie Mclennan, and new yoga teacher on the right, me. Both however, forever students of yoga.

I asked Natalie (my teacher as well) what she thinks about the new yoga craze and trend, and here’s what she said,

My personal yoga mood these days is one of rediscovery. I’ve reconnected with some of my past teachers and recommitted to my own learning and practice. 

My message with yoga is this– we know it works, it’s the medicine to remedy the effects of the world we live in, but in order for it to work, we can’t simply talk about how amazing yoga is without personally investing time on the mat. Once a week, five times a week, we have to DO it to benefit from it. It’s like talking about how amazing it is to put money aside in a retirement fund, without actually saving anything. 

For people who don’t do yoga but are curious, find a class and do it. And if you don’t like it, try another teacher, another studio and if you still don’t like it, try again in six months.”

As the Buddha says: “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”

I’d love to hear if yoga has helped you in any way. Feel free to leave any yoga tips for our readers, or any ways yoga has helped you in your life.

Wishing you guys an amazing long labour day weekend, and maybe some yoga in September? 😉

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