|Photo by Ester Marie Doysabas on Unsplash|
I’ve had trouble with self-control my entire life. Up until about two years ago, I also weighed about forty pounds heavier than I do now. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it is the difference between a size 14 and size 4 jean size, and XL and a small and between feeling tired and anxious all the time and feeling calm and secure.
I wonder if there is a correlation? I believe there is, but not because I focused on losing weight. If I had focused on that, I would have never lost a pound. You see, my problem wasn’t about the weight per say, it was my lifestyle. I had no self control. Instead of saying no to things that were not good for me, I just took it all and then set it to the side. I had so much clutter surrounding me, I am amazed I could even move.
It’s the little things too, like that shirt in your closet that you never wear, but hang on just in case you might ever have a need for a plain green long sleeve shirt that has no identity.
I decided I want an identity.
I made small changes at first. I would intentionally put my food on smaller plates so there was not as much to entice me. To aid in this method, I began to buy better quality foods in less quantity. It worked out great because I didn’t consume as much as we could eat more diverse foods. I really like this style.
Another change that began small was to seek out somewhere I could be active. I tried the apartment and local gyms, but I was unmotivated. I was fine if I could get there, but any excuse would keep me away. I found a listing for yoga in the park. It was free and the summers are a beautiful time to be outside, so I decided to give it a shot.
Thankfully, that park was close to my house. It had to have been for me to start. I could even walk, it was the perfect outlet to get out of the house for an hour during the middle of summer.
I sat my mat down as far from the front as I could possibly get and still hope to hear the instructor cue the poses. Especially, since I had no idea what any of the poses were. But I tried, I listened to her cues and I observed the people around me. I could tell that some of these people knew exactly what was going to come next.
I remember thinking that it was like a dance.
I know I must have looked goofy during that first practice. I certainly felt silly trying to copy the people around me. Nonetheless, I was determined to do my best in downward dog and warrior two. They lost me at dancer’s pose, but I caught back on during tree pose because I remember really liking that one when I did the video in my college dorm room a couple times.
It was during half-pigeon that I realized I could do this. I leaned over by bent right leg and could feel my hip release. It felt amazing. I didn’t even realize there was so much pressure built up in my hips.
Next I leaned over my left leg and immediately second guessed every decision that brought me to this moment. This side hurt. I heard the instructor cue to roll onto your back for a modification if you feel any pain.
I did that immediately and felt a lot better.
It was that word, “modification” that really stuck with me. That if something is painful or too much for the moment, modify. You can reach the same result in different ways. I learned how to stretch my hip in a similar way that helped ease the pressure without the pain.
I did not know what the word savasana meant at the time, but when I laid down on my mat in the middle of the public park, I found bliss. I couldn’t think about anything other than the light way my body felt and the clearness of my mind. I wasn’t worried or stressed, I just felt happy and content in that moment.
I was only after being dismissed with a chorus of Namaste that I realized that a transformation just occurred in me on a Wednesday evening at the local park.
I didn’t talk to anyone that first class, but I walked away with a smile on my face. And the next week, I came back with my mat a little closer to the front of the practice space.
I had no idea what a huge difference yoga would make in my life. I couldn’t explain it at first, the difference I felt, but it was a moment where I felt calm and strong.
After those first weeks at the park, I joined the local studio. I began to go more and more. I gained confidence and lost weight, but most importantly, I began to feel this weight lifted off of me.
Yoga slowly began to change me. I learned how controlling my breathing helps to control my thinking. This concept changed everything. I learned how to listen to my body and realized I had a tendency to hold my breath. By learning how to slow down my breathing, I was also able to lessen my anxiety. After a while, I began to notice significant changes in my attitude and my ability to respond to my surroundings instead of react to it.
I began to do a deep clean of my space. I decluttered my things and let go of what no longer served me. Turns out I didn’t use half of what I had laying around anyway. I also spent time organizing my desk so I could work and increase my productivity. Overall, I started being more intentional about how I used my time and space.
I’ve changed greatly in the last couple years and it all started with yoga. Those great changes only came about my making those small adjustment in my daily life. Now, my attitude is better, my anxiety is a ghost, I’ve lost weight and gained flexibility. I feel joyful and content and have more motivation to finish things that I start.
I was always the girl with no self-control and now I have the power to hold my ground. I find joy in the richer value and more productivity my life carries now.
I am not perfect. I mess up all the time. This is where the practice comes in. Life will always bring ups and downs, but there is joy and contentment in the understanding of the balance between too much and not enough. There will be time for excess and time for leanness. In understanding this balance and modifying our routine we can change and grow as necessary without anxiety about the outcome.
This allows us to find contentment in our day and inner peace in ourselves. I found a glimpse of bliss in a park doing yoga over two years ago, and now, I find those glimpses everywhere.
When did I become the one with self-control? When I decided to. Everything is a choice. I set an intention for myself, though I did not call it that at first. I planted a seed of inner peace in my heart and I am really enjoying watching it grow.