Each morning I read an inspiring daily meditation from Journey to the Heart, a wonderful book by author Melody Beattie.
Yesterday's passage, "Take Better Care of Yourself," reminded me of how superb my daily yoga practice is for "taking better care of myself."
Since childhood, I innately knew that our bodies are "a temple." I recall seeing that phrase somewhere in the Bible. Because this became one of my core beliefs, unhealthy foods and substances did not tempt me, even as a teenager when experimentation is often alluring.
Although we have more gyms, yoga studios, workout venues than ever, so many people in the United States and elsewhere in the developed world,fail to revere their body as a "temple." They do not take adequate care of themselves. Being "busy" is worn as a badge of honor, especially in politically or financially driven cities like Washington DC and New York City, respectively.
It's important, however, I believe to follow Beattie's recommendation to "take better care of yourself than you ever have before. That's what your heart is telling you to do." She emphasizes that if you push yourself relentlessly, your life will eventually backfire and "the worse you'll feel."
As a child and teenager, I was the consummate, unathletic klutz! Physical ed teachers and coaches ignored people like me who could not qualify to play on a varsity or junior varsity team. I was not made to stay in shape for a team by running around the field. Non-athletes at school got minimal exercise. Thus, I made a conscious decision to take charge of my physical well being. I learned hatha yoga from two books (now yellowed, weathered tomes that I still own) because many of the poses were feasible for me.
The hatha yoga I practice emphasizes a gentle, slow motion practice without striving or pushing or contorting myself into a pretzel,and as such, I have reaped enormous rewards. My daily practice is a gift to myself that stretches and nourishes my muscles, ligaments, tendons, muscles and organs from the inside out. And, as Beattie says, if you "take better care of yourself...life's magic will return. Your life will improve. You'll feel better too."
I could not agree more. None of us knows how long we will live and there are no guarantees in life that even if we do daily yoga, that we will escape life's trials and tribulations such as health challenges. However, I do know taking "better care of yourself" with yoga enhances the quality of each day and gives me the ability to better handle the monkey wrenches or curve balls that may come along. And, in all candor, I still "feel" 25 even though I am past 35, 45, and 55...
Do you need any more convincing to "take better care of yourself" with yoga?
Laura Venecia Rodriguez, The Beginner's Yoga at Home Coach