5 Ways Yoga Makes Me The Person I Want To Be
I’ve been doing various types of yoga on and off for about five years, but only since I found my studio, 502 Power Yoga, inspired by the Baptiste Yoga Methodology, has my practice become strong and consistent. Never before had I found a yoga studio so focused on building community and having fun. Never before had a yoga teacher spoken so deeply to me, helping me to be kinder to myself on and off the mat. Never before have I seen myself, in these new ways:
1. I’m present. I struggle with stress and anxiety, and often yoga is the only time of day that I can quiet my mind. Whatever worry I walk with into class fades away. The practice of flowing with my breath and letting go of outside worry becomes more easeful with each exhale. To be able to forget my fears and struggles for an hour each day is a true gift.
2. I’m accepting of my body. Improving my body image has been an ongoing goal since recovering from an eating disorder in my early twenties. Any workout can help me feel strong and confident, but what I love about yoga is that my body type or shape has nothing to do with my practice. Yoga is for everyone. I leave each class proud of what my body can do and grateful for its strength.
3. I’m not afraid to fail. My studio encourages falling. The mindset that falling out means you challenged yourself to try something new changed my entire practice. I now excitedly try new poses and variations, knowing there will be no judgment if I sloppily land on the floor. Fear of failure can paralyze me and prevent me from reaching goals, and my yoga practice is a reminder to be brave and put myself out there.
4. I have access to grace. Baptiste is the first type of yoga I’ve done where everyone actually breathes audibly the entire class. Focus, breath and a little smile truly have the ability to take the edge off of any difficult, quad-burning posture (I’m looking at you, chair pose). The practice of meeting difficulties with grace has such a practical translation to off-the-mat life that I know, with practice, will become my new response.
5. I’m in community. Having lived in four different states in the last three years, finding community is important to me. My Baptiste friends welcomed me with open arms, giving genuine hugs and hellos each day. We talk before class, we give high-fives after a hard set of wheel pose, and we thank our instructors and assistants for their guidance. It’s a loving, supportive, generous group of men and women, which is more than I could hope for in my home-away-from-home.
I have begun to crave my yoga practice—not just for the great stretch and mental calm—but because when I’m practicing Baptiste Yoga, I am the person I want to be.
Author Clare Brady is a wellness enthusiast and making a career change to become a physician. She loves dark chocolate, Notre Dame football, and of course yoga! Clare writes a blog where she shares her adventures in staying healthy post-eating disorder, navigating her twenties, and living her best life.