One Day At A Time…or How Yoga Kinda Changed My Life
Written by: Hazel Juntilla Anzai
It all started with a video of a man who seemed to overcome a lot of physical challenges (bad knees, bad back, couldn’t stand without braces/crutches…) through Yoga. Now, as a Registered Nurse, my critical thinking skills tell me it was more than Yoga that helped this man shed 100 pounds of fat and enabled him to run again, BUT Yoga did play a huge factor in his health journey.
In nursing school, I learned about the wonderful ‘condition of being’ named Female, Fat and Forty. Still in my late 20s (ahem) before I graduated, I vowed I wouldn’t be THAT statistic. Fast forward a few years, 4 beautiful daughters and a sedentary lifestyle later, I was just about to hit that statistic. I was always tired and burnt out and SO not healthy. I made many excuses not to move; I’m too tired was number one on the list (…yeah…too tired from sitting on my ass all day at work, talking on the phone…doing my job…as a health advocate and educator…yes, yes, I know; the irony of it all is not lost on me).
My co-worker shared this video with me one day as we stuffed our faces full of chips and dip during a meeting. After watching it, something clicked inside me. I was tired of feeling tired and tense all the time. I was run down, burnt out, felt and, goodness gracious, looked older than I was (case in point: I was once mistaken for my mother’s sister…my mother is in her mid 60s and, while she looks like she’s way younger, even if she was hypothetically only 10 years ‘older’ than me, that would also mean I look 10 years older than my actual biological age…quel horror).
I started doing (is that the proper term?) Yoga in December 2014. Since then, I’ve tried to practice Yoga at least 4 times a week, every week, for 1 hour a day. I’m lucky because my job actually brings the Yoga instructors to our workplace and I am blessed enough to spend my lunch hour getting my Downward Dog on. My shoulders are no longer tight or sore (especially when I wake up in the morning) and my energy level has increased. I’m more centered and on the days that are particularly hectic and over-whelming, my breathing ‘exercise’ comes in handy to save my sanity (picture me inhaling deep into my nose and exhaling loudly through my mouth as I sweep broken glass up off the floor–true story!).
My Yoga practice is ever-evolving; some days I’m uber-flexible (Bird Of Paradise, anyone?) and other days I can’t even get my heels onto the mat during Downward Dog…but, as one of my wonderful Yoga instructors always tells us: trying is doing. I may never perfect my Chaturanga or execute a full headstand but those are not my reasons to practice Yoga. My reasons are to hone in on being present in each moment and to make each moment count…or at least keep trying because, after all, trying is doing.