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Mindfulness – The Empowering Lesson of Gratitude

Submitted by Volunteer Shannon Caswell

 

About five years ago, a friend told me I should try yoga. I had just gone back to work after having my first child and while I loved being a mom more than anything, my new life of wonderful chaos, imbalance, and stress settled in. Through the struggle of how to be the perfect mother, wife, daughter, friend, and career professional, I forgot how to take care of ‘me’.

I was nervous to try yoga. The whole breathing and meditation thing made me uncomfortable and I didn’t think I would be ‘any good at it’. I was too self-conscious to go to a yoga class, so I decided to try some DVDs at home.

I remember trying yoga in my bedroom after a stressful day, and it was uncomfortable, awkward, and the farthest thing from relaxing. I could smell spaghetti the husband was cooking in the kitchen and the sounds of my son’s starving cry. I looked around me at one point noticing that my laptop and blackberry sat open, emails buzzing, and text messages vibrating, and I remember realizing that this isn’t what yoga is supposed to be like! I wanted to make sure I truly gave yoga a try, so decided to bite bullet, get out of my comfort zone, and experience yoga in a studio.

I have been hooked ever since, and let me tell you why.

Yoga had this way of hitting everything – it was calming, detoxing, empowering, exhausting, and refreshing. I quickly learned that being ‘good at yoga’ wasn’t the point, but about being in the moment and dedicating time for me without judgment; without pressure; and without distraction.

I learned humility and allowed for vulnerability.

Yoga empowered me to push my limits, with grace.

Between the four corners of my mat, I learned to breathe, with purpose.

It taught me that my body and mind were strong and to have gratitude for everything I was capable of.

Yoga became a moving medication that prompted clarity in my thoughts. This allowed me not only to better take care my body, mind, and heart, but to better take care of those around me.

I thank my friend everyday for encouraging me to give yoga a shot five years ago because she recognized that I was much more than just a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend, or a career professional. She understood the importance of preserving and empowering ‘me’.

While I realize that carving out time for me will always be a challenge between work, children, family, and everything in between, I now feel empowered to have more gratitude for me and making sure I continue to foster that. And I think that’s a good place to be.

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