If you are one of those who are hopping on board with the number one resolution of the new year and have vowed to take better care of yourself, you are likely to be one who may have also realized that there’s a lot more to taking care of yourself than hitting the gym for 45 minutes three days a week. We honestly cannot expect an exercise-only routine to become a habit without having created an extra hour in our schedules, right? We have to give up something in order to create the space for that new thing to have its time!
While taking care of the self encompasses much more than exercise, exercise gets the popularity. When we vow to take better care of ourselves, it has to be the whole self. That gets tricky. Sure, we can alter our eating habits, limit our alcohol intake, or give up smoking, but are we then addressing the whole self? Let’s add to it that we are vowing to also get “enough” or “more” sleep, but even that leaves part of our whole Self untouched (well, sort of lacking anyway).
The Self I am referring to as getting left out when we start exercise regimes is the spiritual Self. Don’t mistake me here; I realize that the endorphin high that comes with habitual exercise rivals many spiritual epiphanies, but even that doesn’t normally come at the onset of a new resolution at the local gym. It takes time.
“I’m already time-challenged! How can I make more time for my spiritual Self when my day is already packed?”
Brace yourselves friends, and heed this exclamation: You can combine exercise and spirituality!
Stacks of research show us that getting out in nature and walking or hiking is calming in all areas of our lives as well as physically beneficial, but you may have some challenges that keep you from this. You may not like getting outside during winter, or walking may not be your favorite activity.
The term yoga means to yoke. We are supposed to be aware of our bodies and our breath, but we are so busy all the time doing, doing, doing that we forget to be, and to breathe. Yoga teaches us to go back to the breath and connect. Once we are reminded of what beautiful creatures we are just as we are, we remember that the Divine thinks so too, and we find great comfort in that. Yoga directs us to remember who we are, and who we are meant to be while we are here, on this earth, in this body, and it connects us with Self.
There are lots of misconceptions about yoga. One is that you have to be able to twist yourself up like a pretzel. That’s not true. There are modifications for all poses, and there are many, many different styles out there (and available in the Birmingham area). Another misconception is that yoga studios are expensive. Most of our area has packages, reduced rates, student rates, and they all seem to be comparable in price from one to another. The drop-in rate for all of these is no greater than $15. Another misconception is that yoga promotes some religion other than the ones in churches in the south. Because yoga is mean to connect us with what is Divine, then it simply doesn’t matter what your “Divine” is called or even whether or not you even have one. Yoga goes amazingly well with all religions in that it promotes loving kindness, compassion, love of self, love of others, service, and of course, peace and non-violence.
“I don’t know if I will like it, and I don’t want to spend the money in case I don’t.”
Guess what! We have two new yoga studios opening in the Birmingham area on January 16th. And guess what else! They are offering free classes all week! And guess what else! Lululemon at the Summit hosts a free yoga class with rotating instructors each Sunday evening for people to sample the many styles that are offered around the Birmingham area. And guess what else! People who are regular practitioners (yogis) tend to be grounded, healthy, socially conscious, spiritually aware, and have a genuine care, concern, and respect for others on their individual paths in life. So when you do try one, you will be welcomed by all. (For info regarding various area studios and types of classes, see some of my earlier posts.)
I want to invite everyone who reads this to some of the upcoming events in the Birmingham area:
Two new studios offering free classes for January 16-20. See sites for schedules.
www.StudioZenFitness.com 5291 Valleydale Road
www.VillagerYoga.com 3150 Overton Road
Free every Sunday: Lululemon at the Summit. Check their Facebook page for teachers/styles and times: http://www.facebook.com/lululemonSummitBirmingham
Yoga Nidra at Studio G in Homewood on Friday night, January 20. Contact Suzanne at Studio G for details and to reserve your spot. www.LoveStudioG.com
Big news! Studio G and Blissful Heights will merge after January 31 in order to bring a more integrative approach to healing mind, body, and spirit. See details at www.BlissfulHeights.com . Look for a more in-depth story about this later!
This weekend in Birmingham: Meg McLaughlin channels Quan Yin during a three-day workshop. Go to www.SinseeCenter.com/schedule for more details.
Feel like getting out of Birmingham for workshops? Here’s an aromatherapy workshop for you in Nashville: http://www.raindroptraining.com/events/01132012_nashville.html
Or if you are new to Shamanic work/journeying and feel like going to Huntsville: http://www.valerienunnelly.com/introshamanicjourneying.htm
Or if you would rather go east to Atlanta for Access Consciousness (like I am doing!) training:
Go ahead and mark your calendar for the Mantra Yoga Intensive set for February 18th and 19th at Books, Beans & Candles Metaphysical Shoppe for sacred chanting (and practice with pronunciation), but more importantly for some amazing energy experience! www.om-vinayaka.comThis is led by Ian Boccio of the Atlanta area.
Laurie is a spiritual healer, Reiki practitioner, ordained minister, chaplain, writer, and an enthusiastic student of life. She has authored one book Journal to the Center of the Soul and can be reached through her freelance writing site www.WritingbyKnight.com.