Once there was a man walking across a field who encountered a tiger. When the man saw the tiger, he fled across the field, the tiger chased after him. Coming to a cliff, he caught hold of a wild vine and swung himself over the edge. The tiger looked down at the man and sniffed at him from above. Terrified, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger had come, waiting to eat him. The man then notices two mice, one white and one black, who have begun to gnaw away at the vine. The man suddenly becomes distracted when he sees a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine in one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. Oh, and how sweet it tasted!
When I read this story, I laughed. I thought, "If only everyone could have such a positive attitude -- including me!"
When you think about challenges in your life, what comes to mind? Does the thought of facing a challenge fill you with stress and worry? Or do you think, "No big deal; I can get through anything!"
Perhaps, you have mixed feelings, like me.
For me, there are times when I think that life can't possibly get any worse. And, there are most certainly times when I am so grateful for how great life is.
Yoga helps me find consistency with my feelings. On days when I feel like life would be better to stay in bed all day curled up in the fetal position, yoga gets me out of bed and keeps me moving.
I honestly don't know what my life would be like without yoga.
I have never officially been diagnosed with depression by a doctor, but I am certain that I have suffered from depression for most of my life. If you are reading this and know me well, you may be thinking that this cannot possibly be a true statement, but I assure you it is.
Just a few years ago, before I had a regular yoga practice, I can remember shutting down so much that I didn't want to leave my house or see my closest friends. I will never forget one dreary day in October 2011, two of my best friends from college surprise visited me at my house. I was home alone and heard someone knocking at the door, but couldn't get myself out of bed to answer. One of my friends sent me a text message that said, "We see your car and know that you are inside. Come let us in!" I wrote back and said, "I can't. Not today."
Thankfully, they really, truly understood. They knew that I just needed time to myself. Sure enough, a few days later, I began to feel like myself again and all was well...well, until the next time.
My depression is always there. It's always hiding underneath the surface. Or at least that's how it used to feel.
In 2012, around the same time that I began my yoga teacher training, I also began to see a therapist. The combination of yoga and therapy has been absolutely life changing for me, in every way possible, but especially regarding my depression.
Since yoga and therapy have become a regular part of my life, my depression rarely shows its dark, ugly face. Yoga alone has helped me through some of the toughest times in my life, and with a regular yoga practice, happiness is now my norm.
I've been waiting all of my life to feel as happy as I do today.
I've already said this, but I will say it again: without yoga, I really don't know what my life would be like.
If you have never practiced yoga, I hope my story convinces you to give it a try. Depressed or not, yoga will likely change your life for the better.
"If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you."
Embrace the challenges life throws your way and allow those challenges to change you for the better.
I wish you nothing but happiness and success as you face the challenges of your life.
And, I hope you always reach for the strawberry.
Class theme: March 30, 2015 - April 11, 2015