Every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 5:55, I wake-up to my alarm. My warm, comfortable bed immediately begins to try swallowing me in order to prevent me from getting up and starting my day. With the warm sheets snug against my body, and my head resting on my ever so soft feather pillow, I immediately begin little debates in my head about whether it's worth it or not to fall back asleep. It's never worth it.
At approximately 6:15, I find myself sitting on my durable purple yoga mat and I am beginning what will be an hour and a half of yoga practice. There are about 15-20 of us that practice yoga together with one fine yoga master (at least I think she's a master) at the front of the room. Sometimes it's hard. Sometimes I wonder how in the world these older woman that have been mothers for many years (which is everyone in the room besides me!) are doing everything! Granted, not everyone is at the same level of expertise in our gathering, but it is still impressive to me. I play mind games with myself to help time pass faster so that I won't think about how difficult some of the poses and stretches are. However, despite how much of a challenge going to this early morning yoga practice is, I love it. I love yoga. I love the stretching, the strengthening, the balancing, working the core.... it is wonderful. My favorite part of the whole morning, however, is Savasana.
Savasana is what we do at the end of every yoga practice. We all lay on our yoga mats in the proper Savasana pose, and our teacher goes around the room to give us a little shoulder massage and help us release any tension we may have the the head, neck, and shoulders. It is miraculous.
Side note: At the end of this last winter semester at BYU, two of my dance teachers offered me some wonderful advice when they said that Savasana would be a good practice for me to do every day in order to help me release my upper-body tension.
There is something about the way the soul (body combined with spirit) feels when it is completely relaxed and free of all pressures. I am so grateful for the times that I'm given to just relax and let all of the tension buildup in my body go. As we go through life, we are faced with different challenges and these challenges even come at a variety of levels of difficulty. I believe that it is important for each of us to remember to breathe and take time to relax even during these times of difficulty. As the world around us becomes more and more evil and turns more to the side of the adversary, it is important for us to keep our heads on straight and remain calm in order to keep in mind what's truly important in life.
Yoga isn't the answer to all of life's questions and trials, however I know that I have learned a lot from it. Not only is it an exercise and practice pertaining to the body, but it is also a practice that strengthens the mind and spirit, therefore the whole soul is involved. I encourage each of us to find some sort of daily practice or ritual to make a part of our lives so that we can remain calm and strong during the hard times. Many of us already have daily rituals that we participate in-- personal and family prayer, scripture study, service, going for walks, gardening, cooking, and so on.
Be grateful for the body you have. Treasure it. Protect from the evils in the world today. Challenge yourself with something each day to help protect yourself more and more. Turn off that rotten song on the radio that drives the spirit away. Give up that piece of chocolate when you know that you've already had one too many. Go for a light jog instead of sitting down to watch that pointless T.V. show. Help your mother or other family member with chores around the house when you would rather read a novel.
I am so grateful for the body that I have been given, and while I fail multiple times each day to treat it the best I can, I am continuing to strive to become better day by day. I pray that you all have a marvelous day and at least once today, consider what would be best for your body.