11 BENEFITS OF A YOGA CLEANSE: REDUCING MENTAL + EMOTIONAL STRESS

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THOUGHTS

I'VE HAD A LOT OF TIME TO THINK ABOUT THINGS OVER THE SUMMER, I'VE BEEN WORKING ON VARIOUS IDEAS FOR THE BLOG AND FOCUSING ON MAKING MOVES TO IMPROVE MY ENVIRONMENT, GAINING MORE CLARITY AS I OBSERVE MYSELF AND REFLECT ON MY OWN THOUGHTS, HABITS, AND WORD CHOICE.

ONE THING I HAVE BEEN THINKING ABOUT FOR A LONG TIME IS MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL STRESS, AND HOW THIS CAN TAKE A TOLL ON YOUR LIFE AND OVERALL WELL-BEING. IF YOU DON'T TAKE CONTROL OR FIND WAYS TO COPE, IT WILL SPIRAL IN MANY WAYS.

NOT MANY KNOW MY PAST AND I STAY QUIET ABOUT SHARING SOME THINGS BECAUSE IT SEEMS SO CLICHE SOMETIMES, BECAUSE WITH SOCIAL MEDIA IT'S BECOME REALLY OVER-SATURATED TO SHARE PERSONAL STORIES AND PAINS. BUT I DO THINK IT'S IMPORTANT FOR ME TO BE OPEN AND EXPRESS MY OWN EXPERIENCES AND PERCEPTIONS, TO BE AUTHENTIC TO MY READERS AND TALK ABOUT REAL ISSUES. SO I'M GOING TO TALK ABOUT MY JOURNEY BEFORE HOW I LEARNED TO PROTECT MY OWN HAPPINESS AND WELL-BEING.

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A LITTLE ABOUT ME

AS A CHILD, THINGS WEREN'T ALWAYS PERFECT. I KNEW THE AREAS WHERE I WAS LACKING AS I GREW UP. I REMEMBER FEELING LIKE I CARRIED THE BURDENS OF OTHERS AND NEEDING TO ALWAYS BE THE PROBLEM SOLVER, HELPER, FIXER, THE DOER.

I DIDN'T HAVE THIS BIG SPACE TO EXPRESS WHO I REALLY WAS, I WAS ALWAYS DOWNPLAYING MYSELF.

I WASN'T THE TYPE TO CRY OR ASK FOR HELP BECAUSE I FELT THIS NOTION THAT EXPRESSING ONESELF COULD BE SEEN AS WEAK OR CHILDISH.

THERE WERE A LOT OF MEMORIES THAT BROUGHT ME A LOT OF PAIN: FOR ONE, BEING MULTI-ETHNIC CAUSED A GREAT DEAL OF IDENTITY ANXIETY, I WAS PICKED APART CONSTANTLY. PEOPLE WERE ALWAYS ASKING QUESTIONS, JEERING, OR JUST BULLYING ME FOR BEING A LITTLE DIFFERENT. I WAS ANXIOUS ABOUT OTHERS PERCEPTIONS BECAUSE PEOPLE ALWAYS HAD SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT MY APPEARANCE, SO I BECAME HYPER-AWARE AS A LITTLE GIRL AND WORRIED ABOUT DISAPPOINTING PEOPLE. IT WORE ON MY SELF ESTEEM. BUT THAT IS WHERE I STARTED CARING ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THOUGHT OF ME. CHILDREN KNOW WHEN THEY DON'T "FIT IN" OR ARE PUT OFF TO THE SIDE.

TWO, I WENT THROUGH A SERIES OF NEGATIVE RELATIONSHIPS AND FRIENDSHIPS. I FELT LIKE I WAS THE HELPER IN MANY OF THOSE SITUATIONS. THE MORE I DID, THE LESS I WOULD RECEIVE BECAUSE I WAS INVOLVED WITH THE EMOTIONALLY UNAVAILABLE. SO I GOT TO A POINT WHERE I WOULD JUST HANG OUT AND NOT GET TOO ATTACHED, I WAS THERE, BUT NOT FULLY INVESTED. AND BECAUSE I WASN'T CLOSE TO PEOPLE, I THREW MYSELF INTO MY SCHOOL AND WORK.

I WAS IN A CYCLE.

I ALSO THINK THAT I WANTED TO BE AN ACHIEVER AND PROVE TO PEOPLE THAT I COULD BE GOOD AT SOMETHING. I HAD A LOT OF ANXIETIES. I HAD DIFFICULTIES WITH "FITTING IN" OR FEELING "NORMAL". THIS CAUSED A GREAT DEAL OF PAIN FOR ME, I WAS SUFFERING AND HURTING ALL THE TIME BECAUSE I WASN'T TAKING CARE OF ME.

I WAS MORE WORRIED ABOUT HOW OTHERS FELT OR WHAT THEY THOUGHT.

IT TOOK SEVERAL SUPPORT GROUPS, 12 STEPS, BEING ALONE, TRAVELING, THERAPY, MEDITATION, SELF HELP BOOKS, A MASTERS DEGREE IN CONFLICT MANAGEMENT, AND A LITTLE SOMETHING CALLED YOGA, THAT HELPED ME HEAL.  IT MADE ME LOOK A LITTLE CLOSER AND SEE THE REAL ME, I REDEFINED THE WAY I SAW MYSELF. IT WAS MAINLY YOGA THAT ALLOWED ME TO FIND A SOLUTION THAT WAS SUSTAINABLE AND HELPFUL IN ANY SITUATION. IT HELPED ME CONNECT MY PHYSICAL AWARENESS TO MY MENTAL AWARENESS, IT GAVE ME EMOTIONAL SECURITY.

HAVING TOLD A CONDENSED VERSION OF MY EXPERIENCES, LITTLE BY LITTLE I WANT TO CONTINUE TO SHARE MY STORY AS WE GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER VIA LIFEONAMAT. AND YOU MAY HAVE HAD MANY SIMILAR EXPERIENCES LIKE ME. BUT FROM THIS PAIN I INCURRED AS A CHILD AND THROUGH MY TEENS AND ADULTHOOD, I'VE GOTTEN BETTER YEAR AFTER YEAR, AS I'VE SEARCHED FOR ANSWERS AND LEARNED TO LIVE ON MY TERMS. I'VE STUDIED MY NATURE AND HABITS AND EACH DAY I WORK TO BECOME MORE HONEST WITH MYSELF.

HAVING THAT CURIOSITY WAS KEY IN MY HEALING. AND SO I WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU SOME WAYS THAT YOGA HAS HELPED ME REDUCE STRESS AND HOW IT HELPS ME TAKE CARE OF MY BODY, MIND, AND SPIRIT. I HAVE A FEW OTHER POSTS THAT HAVE TOUCHED ON THIS IN THE PAST, BUT I HAVE BEEN WORKING AND BRAINSTORMING FOR THIS POST FOR A LONG TIME AND THOUGHT IT COULD HELP.

I KNOW IT CAN BE PAINFUL TO TALK ABOUT OUR PASTS BUT I WANT TO SHARE SOLUTIONS. AND WITH THIS BRAND, MY HOPE IS TO OPEN THE DOOR TO NEW IDEAS AND SPREAD KNOWLEDGE. BELOW I'VE COME UP WITH SOME REASONS TO TRY YOGA AND MAYBE YOU WILL FIND SOME BENEFITS YOURSELF. EITHER WAY, I WANT YOU TO BE CURIOUS AND TO KEEP DIGGING, TO REALIZE THAT YOU HAVE TO PROTECT YOUR WELL-BEING. ALWAYS LIVE YOUR TRUTH!

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HOW YOGA CAN LOWER EMOTIONAL STRESS

  1. HAVING A QUICK 5 MINUTE PRACTICE, EVEN JUST DOING A 2-3 POSES IN THE MORNING CAN HELP RELEASE CHEMICALS TO HELP STIMULATE YOUR MOOD AND ATTITUDE.
     

  2. DOING YOGA IN THE PARK OR IN A NEARBY NATURE SCENE ON YOUR OWN CAN GIVE YOU PEACE AND A QUIET SPACE FOR DEEP MEDITATION. MEDITATION, IS ESSENTIALLY OBSERVING ONESELF. GIVING YOURSELF TIME TO JUST OBSERVE WITHOUT JUDGEMENT CAN HELP IMPROVE YOUR SELF-CARE PRACTICE.
     

  3. YOGA STUDIOS ALSO PROVIDE A SPACE FOR ACCEPTANCE. THERE'S LESS BODY-SHAMING CULTURE IN A YOGA SPACE, WHICH IS GREAT FOR THOSE WHO JUST WANT TO TRY SOMETHING NEW BUT MAY NOT BE COMFORTABLE IN A GYM OR BOOT CAMP CLASS.
     

  4. YOGA IS PROVEN TO REDUCE STRESS AND MENTAL BAGGAGE. IT ALLOWS US TO "LET GO" AND GIVES US A BOOST OF SELF-CONFIDENCE AND A POSITIVE OUTLOOK. HAVE YOU EVER FELT THE ENDORPHINS AFTER A GOOD WORKOUT? IT'S VERY SIMILAR IN THAT YOU WORK OFF ALL THAT YOU ARE HOLDING ONTO AND BRINGS YOU INTO THE PRESENT MOMENT.
     

  5. YOGA TEACHES US TO BE PATIENT WITH OURSELVES, IT HELPS US TO SLOW DOWN, TO APPRECIATE OUR BODIES, AND TO CREATE SPACE IN THE DAY TO ACCEPT WHERE WE ARE AT. SO OFTEN, WE GET FRUSTRATED BECAUSE WE COMPARE, WE WANT INSTANT RESULTS, INSTANT GRATIFICATION. WITH YOGA, IT'S COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. EVERY CLASS OR SESSION WILL FEEL DIFFERENT, YOU WILL FEEL AS THOUGH YOU'VE DONE SOMETHING GOOD FOR YOUR MIND AND BODY AS YOU SLOWLY GO THROUGH THE POSES. IT'S NOT ABOUT PERFECTION AND RUSHING THROUGH IT.
     

  6. MOST OF THE TIME, STRESS IS HELD IN CERTAIN PLACES SUCH AS THE SHOULDERS AND BACK, OR IN THE HEART. YOGA HELPS RELEASE TENSION IN THIS AREA. YOGA HELPS REMOVE TRAUMA THAT WE ARE CARRYING AROUND AND OPENS VARIOUS ENERGY CHANNELS, SUCH AS THE CHAKRAS AND BANDAS. IT HELPS RID THOSE NEGATIVE VIBES AND REFRESHES YOUR ENERGY. KEEP IN MIND, WHAT YOU CARRY AROUND AFFECTS THE WAY YOU INTERACT WITH PEOPLE.

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HOW YOGA IMPROVES THE BRAIN + MENTAL WELLBEING

  1.  YOGA HELPS WITH COGNITIVE FUNCTIONS, IT KEEPS THE MIND SHARP. FOR THOSE WHO ARE IN THEIR 20'S TO 40'S, YOU WILL WANT TO USE THOSE DECADES WITH PHYSICAL ACTIVITY TO HELP FIGHT COGNITIVE DECLINE. YOGA HELPS THE BRAIN FIGHT SIGNS OF AGING AND HELP WITH MEMORY. IN A STUDY CONDUCTED BY THE SEMEL INSTITUTE FOR NEUROSCIENCE AND HUMAN BEHAVIOR AT UCLA, YOGA CAN HELP REDUCE AND AID IN PREVENTION OF DEMENTIA OR ALZHEIMER'S.
     

  2. YOGA HELPS PRODUCE MORE BRAIN CELLS AND GAMMA-AMINOBUTYRIC ACID. THIS MAINTAINS THE NERVE ACTIVITY. AND SINCE THE BRAIN IS AN ORGAN, IT ALSO NEEDS CELLS TO SUPPORT THE BILLIONS OF NEURONS THAT FIRE OFF VARIOUS RESPONSES. IT'S NEUROPLASTICITY! IT'S WHAT ALLOWS YOU TO BE ACTIVE AND MAINTAIN A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE. THE MORE CELLS, THE BETTER. PLUS IT HELPS IMPROVE YOUR STRESS RESPONSE.
     

  3. YOGA CAN HELP INCREASE YOUR CREATIVITY, CONCENTRATION, AND FOCUS. HAVING PRACTICED FOR THE LAST 6 YEARS, I'VE NOTICE MYSELF BECOME MORE PRODUCTIVE AND OPEN TO TRYING NEW THINGS. IT IS SAID THAT THE RIGHT BRAIN HEMISPHERE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR CREATIVITY. IN A STUDY FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA MEDICAL CENTER, STUDENTS WHO PRACTICED YOGA FOR 3 MONTHS CONSISTENTLY HAD GREATER ACTIVITY IN THEIR RIGHT HEMISPHERES.
     

  4. PRANA, OR BREATH, IS ESSENTIAL IN YOGA. IN FACT, IT CAN BE SAID TO SOMETIMES BECOME EVEN MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE PHYSICAL ASPECT OF YOGA. DEEP BREATHING HAS BEEN SAID TO LOWER DEPRESSION BY 50% IN A STUDY BY BOSTON UNIVERSITY. "DR. CHRIS STREETER, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR PSYCHIATRY AND NEUROLOGY AT BU SCHOOL OF MEDICINE SAYS THE PRACTICE HAS FAR FEWER SIDE EFFECTS AND POTENTIAL DRUG INTERACTIONS THAN MOOD-ALTERING MEDICATIONS."
     

  5. FOR ME, I WAS A BIKRAM (HOT YOGA) BABY AND STILL AM. SO OUR INSTRUCTORS HAVE TAUGHT US ABOUT HOW CERTAIN POSES IMPROVE NERVOUS SYSTEM AND RESPIRATORY SYSTEM. I'VE LEARNED THAT THE POSTURES OPEN UP PASSAGEWAYS FOR FLUIDS TO HELP LUBRICATE JOINTS AND THAT OXYGEN MOVES ALL THROUGHOUT THE BODY, ESPECIALLY TO THE BRAIN. THAT MEANS MORE NUTRIENTS ARE DELIVERED, MAKING OUR BODIES AND MINDS STRONGER!

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IN ALL HONESTY I FEEL SO GRATEFUL FOR A LOT OF THINGS, BUT ESPECIALLY YOGA. IT REALLY BALANCES SO MANY ASPECTS OF MY LIFE. IT HELPS CREATE A CERTAIN PEACE OF MIND AND PROVIDES ME WITH A SPIRITUAL WELL-BEING. IF THERE'S ANY REASON TO PRACTICE, MY ADVICE WOULD BE THAT YOU CAN'T WAIT TO WORK ON WHAT'S MOST IMPORTANT: YOU! IF YOU CAN'T GIVE YOURSELF AN HOUR, GIVE YOURSELF 30 MINUTES,  OR EVEN JUST 5! IT WILL GO A LONG WAY IN HELPING YOU TO DEVELOP EMOTIONAL AGILITY AND THE ABILITY TO OVERCOME CHALLENGES.

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RECKLESS RED-OM YOGA MAT

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ALL PHOTOS WERE TAKEN BY MY MOM, CORA :)

Jasmine HuntComment