I started doing yoga in January 2016 right after I got fired from my job.
I was overwhelmed, anxious and sad. The depression from a long, gray winter began to sink in. The pace and hustle of New York dictated all of my decisions and actions. All of my energy was spent on impressing my bosses, producing the next event, or worrying about the calls I would have to squeeze in between food and an endless line of meetings. I completely lost sight of the things that made me happy. I was distracted by the unrealistic drive for professional success and as a result, forgot to take time to think about me. Life was an 8-3AM grind that never ended. I needed a new routine.
I’d heard enthusiastic testimonies about the benefits of yoga from friends, online lifestyle blogs, and self-care sites. Yes, I was looking for something physical to do to start getting into summer shape, but I was also looking for self-care remedies to counteract my (self-diagnosed) depression. My friend suggested Lesley Fightmaster, a YouTube self directed yoga class. It was an easy sell; I was willing to do anything to change the state I was in. Day One, I sat on my makeshift yoga mat—an old beach towel—and pressed play.
After my first week of doing yoga, the tension and pain I was physically carrying dissolved from my back. I hadn’t realized how out of touch I was with my body. Simple stretching exercises that seemed reminiscent of my childhood P.E. days were matched with intense breathing, stillness, and focus. Basic motions grew into more complicated formations, engaging my core and mind. I could definitely FEEL that something was happening.
I am not a yoga expert, nor do I consider myself part of the Yogi subculture, but I have learned a tremendous amount about my body, mind, breath and strength. One of my biggest takeaways from practicing yoga is freeing myself of expectations when I come to the mat. I couldn’t gracefully slide into a split or a perfectly balanced headstand when I started, and I still can't, but that's not even the point! I am on a journey of reconnecting with myself, a person who was lost between schedules and hectic overproducing. Realigning and readjusting my expectations for my day-to-day was clearly the next step in negotiating a healthier and more balanced life. Yoga allowed me to be honest and present with myself wherever I was, wherever I am, and—I daresay—wherever you are.
It's been 9 months since embarking into the world of self-employment and freelance. And now, I do yoga almost everyday. I wake up and spend the first two hours of my morning focusing on my mind and body and reflecting on my goals for the day. Only then do I begin to tackle the work and chaos that comes with freelance life. Some days, I only have 10 minutes in the morning to work out, but taking even that small moment to connect with myself is important. In the few months that I have been doing yoga, I see a stark contrast between where I started and where I am now. I am happier. I feel more grounded. I have more energy. I am more in tune with the things I need to do just for me. The list could go on! I am definitely a work in progress, but being present and honest with myself in the process is a part of the journey.
Codify Art had a great time at Wanderlust 108 Brooklyn this year. Below are a few images from the day!