If you follow me on Instagram or know me in any capacity in real life, you know this thing about me: I’m a bonafide yoga addict. I love it. And not in a — I don’t really do it that much, I really just talk about it, except on that rare occasion I drag myself off the couch and into the yoga studio for candlelight and relaxation — kind of way. Rather, in the — I practice every morning at home, I’m stronger because of it, and truly, it’s changed my life — kind of way. I practice every. damn. day.
Now, I could tout to you all the physical benefits of yoga, the confidence breeding, the spurring of creativity (and I will in later posts), but for now I’m going to focus on one thing — how yoga calms overactive minds.
I’m the type of person that gets a little anxious on occasion. And probably anxious isn’t the right word. I get scattered. And when I feel scattered, I get stressed. It’s just that I happen to love about a gazillion things, I get swept up in a myriad of projects, and I pretty much want to do EVERYTHING. At any one moment, I could have ten projects running through my mind, each with ten different to-do list items attached. And that’s just for my photography business. I might also want to create that painting for my bedroom, hike to that peak I haven’t bagged yet, decorate the spare bedroom, and write the ten personal emails I’m behind on sending. Oh, and I need to grocery shop. But first I have to make a grocery list. Which means I need to look up new recipes. And the toilet. The damn thing never cleans itself.
So yeah. You could say my mind runs a mile a minute. And I often it find it hard to settle. Be calm. Focus on one piece of one project at one time.
But you know what changes that for me? I get on my mat. When I’m feeling like my mind is going in a million different directions. When I can’t focus on just one thing. When I’m chasing my thoughts from one moment to the next. I stop. I get on my mat. I do yoga. And time stops.
Try kicking up into a handstand ten times. No, really. Try it. After about the second kick up, could you think about anything else? Nope. The only thing you can think of is that moment. The only thing you can think of is the placement of your hands, adjusting your shoulders, kicking with the right momentum, letting go of the fear of falling over. Sure, there are a lot of things that can run through your mind when you’re trying to handstand. But I guarantee you, not one of them is how you’re going to create a masterpiece with your next photography project. Because it’s physically impossible.
So yeah. Yoga quiets the overactive mind. It forces me to stop making to-do lists that are a mile long. The focus is on the breath and aligning breath with movement. If I’m doing that, if I’m truly focusing on my breath, the present moment is all I have.
And when I’m done? When I step off my mat? Something truly beautiful happens. I get to work, one item at a time. It’s like this practice teaches my brain to slow down, to recalibrate, to focus.
I do yoga for many reasons. But this one alone is worth it. The impact is profound. The quiet mind changes everything.
If you’re at all like me, if your brain feels scattered and it’s stressing you out, I implore you to try it. You don’t have to handstand (in fact, if you’re not experienced, you shouldn’t). You don’t have to do the most difficult poses. But get a video or stop by a studio. Light a candle, take a moment to breathe, and get on your mat. You won’t regret it.