yoga with benefits

I was really excited when I got back to the mat last month and joined a studio that offers hip hop yoga (the class that originally got me hooked years ago). Since joining, I’ve taken vinyasa (heated), vinyasa + restorative, yin yoga, restorative, and the hip hop. There are other classes offered that I’ve not had the chance to take yet, but I’m interested in the slow flow and strength/structure classes.

I’ve been thinking about other things that have changed since I started attending classes. First and foremost is my exercise regimen. I had been doing at-home practice a few days a week but only for short periods of time and, instead, spend most of my time focused on cardio (elliptical) and some lifting. I’ve not done either of these in 2019 and while I hope to add one workout a week that includes deliberate cardio and lifting, I’m otherwise unfazed by how things have shaken out. In truth, I’m pleased with the shoulder definition I’m developing by attending yoga 3-4x a week.

My diet has easily been cleaned up. Sure, we did a revamp but I’m finding that it’s really easy to find balance — I’m eating vegetables (my favorite) and have cut grains significantly; I’ve also added some protein but not so much that I feel overwhelmed by it. Before I started yoga, I’d have oatmeal (2) for breakfast, maybe a sandwich or salad and pita for lunch, and then pasta and vegetables for dinner. I’ve been still indulging in a lot of carbs (thank you, potatoes & fruit) and am still having pasta for dinner, just not as often. I also have indulged in a couple of Girl Scout cookies the last few nights. It may seem silly but I accredit yoga for empowering me to be do what’s best for my mind and body.

In addition to diet and exercise, I’m drinking a lot more water, my clothes are fitting differently, and I’m falling asleep without melatonin (and staying asleep); most importantly, my anxiety isn’t getting in my way and I’m feeling a lot freer as a person, which  makes me a better wife and parent. Lastly, and this is silly but I have noticed that when I’m planning to go someplace (date night, out with my toddler, the grocery store), I am dressing better. I am no longer grabbing leggings and a tunic; instead, I feel more put together. I realized this when the jeans in my drawer were running low but my leggings were abundant.

While we’re on the subject of clothing: I used to online shop a lot. I didn’t only buy things for me; I bought for everyone in the house. My resolution for 2019 was to stop online shopping and I’m happy to report: So far, so good! I used online browsing/shopping to fill a void and occupy my mind when suffering from severe anxiety. I’ve not had any desire to shop online this year and the few things I’ve ordered for the house (things we need, which I do not count), I feel inconvenienced. This has been a pleasant turn around for me.

I’m in the city a few days a week, which gives me easy access to restaurants and shops. I miss living in the fray of thugs. When I first moved to the ‘burbs, I was miserable. We’ve since sold that house and moved to a beach town, which I love. We do a weekly date night but are typically only gone for an hour or two, so it’s not like we are in the city much otherwise. It’s nice to get to walk around and pop into stores or restaurants at my leisure. This is a favorite benefit of yoga thus far.

Of course, the last benefit I’ve found through yoga is that I’ve started to set weekly intentions. I grab my planner on Sundays and set my intentions for the week; these include self-care, family activities, yoga schedule, and other things that are important to my family and myself. A goal I want to get to is setting daily intentions but for now, this works.

What are some benefits you’ve found through your routines?

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