Hello on this quiet Sunday afternoon! I hope everyone’s enjoying their holidays so far. Specifically, I hope everyone is resting up after a long, stressful semester, and enjoying the time they have to themselves and with friends and family.
Have you ever been in a situation where you’re so busy and overwhelmed, you don’t even have time to process how you’re doing or what
you’re feeling? Someone might ask you how you’re doing, but it’s so much easier to reply, politely but mechanically, “Oh, I’m good, how are you?” I have definitely found myself in a position where, if I just stopped, sat still and breathed deeply for ten minutes, I would realize that my body was crying out for sleep and nourishing food, my mind wanted a break, and my self was sick and tired of being locked in Olin basement for six hours a day, every day, with minimal human contact and no time for people I cared about and who care for me. And most of all, I need to turn to some guided meditation and yoga.
Now, before I continue, I want to recognize that yoga and meditation aren’t for everyone. Some people find it boring, some people find it increases their anxiety, and some people find it to be “hippie nonsense.” (You know who you are!) But as an anxious person and as someone who is not always as in tune with her body as she would like to think, I find it not only immensely helpful, but also necessary for my mental and physical well-being.
Since we are all on vacation, my mom, my sister and I decided to make the trip to Ithaca to take a class at Fine Spirit Studio, a yoga studio that, while strangely situated in an old factory, is spacious and quiet. The class we usually take is called Yin and Restorative Yoga. This type of yoga is much more about extended stretching and holding poses and relaxing the muscles and the mind rather than sweating and working it a la hot yoga. Every session begins with fifteen minutes of guided meditation followed by various poses and then (my favorite part!) a restorative session that’s meant to further relax your body and mind. (I will openly admit that I have nearly fallen asleep during these sessions before. Because I am secretly a cross between an old lady and a bear.)
My enjoyment of these classes partially stems from the fact that our instructor is an old family friend, and so I feel super comfortable around her, even when I’m tumbling around on my yoga mat trying to get my bolster to sit up straight. (That actually happened today, as I am eminently graceful, like a swan. Ahaha.) But while people go on and on about the benefits of meditation and yoga, they rarely talk about good it feels when you do it right. I have never inhabited my body that deeply before, to the point where you can feel the rise and fall of my every breath, every little breeze across my face, every small sensation. It’s so freeing and wonderful to be so present. It’s strange: you would think going inward like that would cause you to retreat from the world, but I always feel so much more connected to everything and everyone during meditation. I don’t know how that works, but I quite like it.
Like I said, I know this sort of practice is not for everyone, but even if you’re vaguely interested, I would highly recommend attending at least one class! Fine Spirit Studios is a bit far from campus, but if you have a Cornell Fitness Center membership, you can easily attend a yoga class for no extra charge! Just check the schedule ahead of time to see what’s available on what day.
I hope this was somewhat interesting and helpful! Do you enjoy yoga? Hate it? Want to try it out? Let me know what you think in the comments!