We’ve all experienced it. Unwanted and unwelcome traffic jams. You are trying to get home after a busy day and bam – nothing but brake lights ahead. You are frustrated, annoyed, angry. Why now? You just want to go home! So what do you do?
Person A: Frets and frets. Person A is very upset to be stuck in a traffic jam. A has a long list of to-do’s going through her mind and is getting more and more anxious as every minute passes. Cook dinner, help the kids with their homework, do laundry, take the dog out for a walk, finish the presentation you didn’t have time to do at work today, pick up the dry cleaning, etc., etc., etc. There is no time to sit in traffic! So Person A fumes the entire slow drive home.
Person B: Person B is not happy to see the traffic jam, and may be annoyed for a few minutes. Then Person B shrugs – thinking there is nothing that he can do to get out of the traffic, so he might as well take advantage of the time. Person B turns on the radio, sings, dances and has fun. During commercial breaks, Person B turns down the radio and meditates. Person B decides to be happy and content, despite the unpleasant situation.
Which person would you rather be? Most of us would say Person B!
I was Person A for a very long time. I would get angry and yell when stuck in a traffic jam. I would think “Why Me?” like it was the worst thing on earth to happen to a person. I was overdramatic and let my negative emotions get the best of me. It was exhausting to be that way – and a lot of the time I was not a very happy person.
Then, with some major life changes, I decided to go to a yoga studio. I did a quick google search and choose the one closest to my house. I was so lucky that it happened to be Be Yoga. I took one yoga class and walked out feeling like bliss. It was amazing. I was hooked.
And what I’ve noticed after time, is that Person A has drifted away. I may not be able to do a perfect handstand, and on any given day I may or may not be able to touch my toes, but what has stuck with me is this feeling of calm, peace and happiness.
You see, it’s not the physical practice as much as the mental practice that keeps me going back. Yes, I love a good Deep Stretch class to loosen up my tight muscles. And I love a flow class to energize my body and help me feel strong. But what I really love is the feeling that a yoga class brings.
People talk about feeling “centered” or “grounded” after a yoga class and those are the perfect words. You feel at peace with yourself – and nothing in the world can change that, whether you get stuck in a traffic jam or dealing with a toddler tantrum. You keep the feeling of calm – tension, stress and anxiety melt away.
Of course, yoga doesn’t keep negative feelings from coming up. You still feel sad, angry, anxious or frustrated. But yoga helps you deal with these emotions in a healthy way, so they do not become the dominant force in your life. Instead, the dominant force is love, peace and dare I say, happiness.