By Janet Havenga of AZ Healing Space Yoga Studio 

Imagine a funnel, and you are a penny spinning around the inner walls of the funnel. As your to-do list grows, you spin faster and faster toward the center. Stressful, right? What I’m about to tell you will bring you back to the outer rim of the funnel so that you can continue your tasks from a place of focus, clarity, and joy.  

Sounds amazing right? The good news is it’s only an hour away. By doing one yoga class one time you will notice an increase in energy, feel calmer and more balanced, and some people, even after one time, feel less stiffness in their joints. 

But first, let’s talk about what yoga isn’t so that we can fully understand what yoga is. Yoga is not a fitness workout. Yoga is not a religion. Yoga is not about touching your toes and it’s definitely not about folding your body into a pretzel.

The truth is, practicing yoga is unlike anything else out there and it works like magic. Let me show you. 

Sit comfortably, place your feet on the floor evenly, sit up tall so your spine is straight. Breathe in through your nose and pull your shoulders up to your ears and squeeze. Open your mouth, exhale hard and fast, and let your shoulder drop down heavily. Do it again. Breathe in through your nose slowly as if your breath was pulling your shoulders up like a puppet; lift them to your ears and then on your out-breath let them drop back down. Let your hands fall into your lap and notice your breath. Feel the temperature of the air on your nostrils: cool coming in and warm going out. Notice how the breath moves the body. Where in your body is breath carving out space?

Learning to observe your breath is the foundation of any yoga practice. You might already feel slightly calmer and a bit more relaxed.  

Sure, this all sounds great, but let’s be real. Between the gym, grocery store, a busy workday, and all the kids’ activities, who has the energy to do yoga? You’re just too tired to add it in… right? 

Think of yoga as a plug-in and recharge of your energy rather than a workout that leaves you feeling whipped-out. Because yoga is a practice of controlling your energy, you walk away from a practice with more energy than you did when you started. 

Because you are aware of your body and your breath simultaneously, your muscles work but your heart rate is relatively relaxed, leaving you feeling stronger, more energized, and more confident in your body, mind, and daily tasks. 

Remembering that yoga, at its basic level, is being aware of your breath, is a great way to start any practice. Additionally, finding small classes that are tailored to new students is another way to experience how an hour on your mat will boost your overall mood, and leave you supercharged to conquer your day.     

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