Casandra Barnes - The Blooming Yogini
Weee hoo! I got my first question…
When you say you were encouraged to “bloom”, how so? Who encouraged you to keep going? Why yoga? How have you benefited/or what have you gained from yoga? And what do you mean by your “practice”?
Well in order for anything to bloom, one must nurture, let it breathe and allow room for growth, as well as time. When I started doing yoga, for me it was part of my "get fit" regime, and in time it became much more. It wasn't just poses, stretches, and balancing, it became more like a purpose behind each movement. To reach a little farther, to stretch a little higher, to stay still and quiet (and breathing!) longer. This resonated in my life, not just on my mat but off the mat as well.
The studio that I attend is very encouraging, and they remind you of your small accomplishments as well as your big ones. Not because we all deserve a pat on the back, or because I'm paying them to, but because sometimes it's really easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. You can get frustrated trying to get into a pose and you miss the fact you just did something your body couldn't do two weeks ago. They bring you back to what yoga is, and truly, it is a mind, body, spirit connection. How many times in life do we strive for a big goal and rush through all the fabulous steps it took to get there?
"Life is what happens when you're making bigger plans" - John Lennon
So if "It's not about the destination, but the journey" then what?
My friends and family started noticing differences too, good differences, that I hadn't even begun to notice. My strength, my tone, my attitude, my entire life started to shift and they were noticing and commenting about how they saw this change. That too encouraged me to keep moving forward in order to continue to allow for great changes and blessings in my life, where I had once been rigid or closed minded and even cynical. My life didn't have to be a certain stereotypical way for it to be a "life", in which i had been struggling for some time.
- Why yoga?
Why not?! I had started eating better and exercising to lose weight. I was running, joined a gym, lifting weights, got a trainer, did burpees until I puked, ran steps until I almost passed out, but the weight didn't come off. I was eating right, (lean protein, broccoli, spinach, kale, quinoa or brown rice) the usual "get lean" foods. And then there was a 30 day yoga challenge at the studio, yoga everyday for 30 days. Sounds easy enough, right?
"It's just stretching." - Said no yogi ever.
It tested my body, my mind, my willpower, my emotional state, it showed me all these things I am capable of and never knew to try or even imagine. It was one of my biggest "a-ha" moments I had ever known. Amidst those 30 days, I fell in love with the practice.
- What have I benefited or gained?
Well, I've lost 29 pounds and counting. My outlook on life, work, and relationships are more positive. I'm getting stronger. I've made healthy life choices to support my changing body and mind (diet, release of stress, taking time for myself to meditate, be grateful and do things I enjoy). I'm just overall a happier person. And when I don't do yoga, when I miss a few days, myself and the people around me can tell!! (Eeek!!) It helps me with the work in progress that I constantly am.
-What do I mean by practice?
If you want to be better at basketball, you practice. If you want to be a better seamstress/knitter/crocheter you practice. Better singer? you betcha, you practice. Want to improve that 5k time? yup. practice. To be a better human being? indeed, we practice.
I think you are getting my point.
Many people say they want to try yoga but they aren't flexible enough. We do yoga to become flexible!! It is a practice because if done repeatedly your body stretches and grows (and thanks and rewards you!) One day you can't touch your toes, and then on another day you realize "HEY!! I'M TOUCHING MY TOES!!" It comes in little by little, inch by inch. But it certainly makes you appreciate the little things! So practice often, whether it's sitting quietly reflecting, or in the morning when you get out of bed reach over and say good morning to those toes. Stretch up above, reach for the sky and be thankful. Be mindful of your movements and all of your actions and thoughts . This too, is yoga! You don't have to be doing headstand and arm balances to call it a yoga practice. But if you want to be stronger, mentally, spiritually, and physically, do it often, and it will become like a second nature.
Your body and mind will thank you for it.
Keep the questions and comments coming!! :)
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
-Bhagavad Gita 3.9-
If you want to truly be free, perform all actions as worship
We are all works in progress, my hope is that we may all bloom to our full potential, to be our radiant selves, so that our light may brighten others.
A Blooming Yogini is someone on a journey to their authentic self, a union of mind, body and spirit to a more healthy, thriving , and vibrant you.
Live. Love. Bloom.