Recommiting to Yoga and Meditation
This week I graduated for the second time in four years. In addition to the certification I received in 2011 as a Natural Chef, I am now a certified Nutrition Consultant. Getting through my schooling has been an immense amount of hard and rewarding work and a lot of time and perseverance.
Today I am also a healthier person than I ever imagined was possible after my IBD diagnosis in 1997. As happy and fulfilled as I feel at my accomplishments, I have also come to realize that I have allowed other areas of my life to fall by the wayside - and that is my yoga and meditation practice.
Nearly five years ago I wrote a Sharepost about how much this practice was helping me. While I haven’t completely given up on my practice these past years, I will admit that it is no longer a structured part of my days or weeks - it is more on an "as needed" basis. So, I have made a new commitment to honor myself and my need to get back in touch with my mind and body and a slower, happier, more contented life space.
Just last week, a friend introduced me to a new group of yogis and their studio and I plan to attend my first class next week. But even more interesting is this: At the beginning of the new year, a meditation friend from years ago introduced me to Qigong, a new kind of meditation to me that is less about sitting meditation and more about centered body movements. According to the Qigong Research and Practice Center, "It is a system of healing and energy medicine from China. It is the art and science of using breathing techniques, gentle movement, and meditation to cleanse, strengthen, and circulate life energy (qi)."
Since the second week of January, I have been attending weekly Qigong sessions and absolutely love it. I find that it is easy to understand and put into practice, but most importantly just 30-45 minutes makes me feel happier, calmer, and more productive and centered. This has been especially helpful these past months since my studies were excessively stress-filled with many deadlines, workshops to teach, clients to work with, and final papers and presentations to accomplish. There were days where I felt overwhelmed and old pangs of anxiety resurfaced, setting off my gut as well as my mind. But the amazing thing was this, when I remembered to turn to my Qigong or sitting meditation practice, I found that my breath relaxed and slowed, my mind and my gut calmed, and I was able to get through my task lists without anxiety, panic, or fear.
That says a lot for me since my default mode can easily go to panic and fear.
I’m not quite sure why it is so hard for us to make the physical time and mental space to do things for ourselves - especially those things that we truly enjoy and make us feel good. Perhaps we feel selfish taking time for our self in the overly busy world in which we live. But I intend to be a little selfish (in a positive way) and recommit to my yoga and meditation practice - for myself and those I help in the future.
What can you recommit to for yourself?
Elizabeth wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Digestive Health.