Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Running, Nature, and Yoga

This week, I am thankful for running, nature, and yoga.

Gah!  I cringe just typing that because 10 years ago I would have walked away from any conversation in which someone pledged her affinity to any of those things.

But 10 years ago, I didn’t really know how to take care of myself.  I was a big ball of hot, reactive energy.  At the time, I viewed it as passion, but the truth was I just didn’t have the tools manage my feelings in a responsible way.  I was anxious all the time, whether it was at work or planning a wedding or being newly married. 

I hated anything that made me have to deal with my anxiety which made running, nature, and yoga unbearable.  Being alone with my thoughts was like a hamster running on a wheel – lots of activity, but accomplishing nothing.

This eventually caught up with me after Thomas was born.  I’ve talked about being on medication and being misdiagnosed, but either way, I was set upon my course of finding inner peace.

So slowly by trial and lots and lots of error, I found my magic combo: running outside and yoga. **

The running part I get; I used to run a lot as a kid, and it just felt good. However, I didn’t grow up with an innate connection to nature.  In fact, I have a vivid childhood memory of going outside and was immediately disgusted by all the bugs flying around our wooded backyard.  Horrified, I went inside and read a book.

I am not sure where this newfound fondness to nature came from, but there is something so comforting about it now.

I mean, look at these pics from my run:

Erin Janda Rawlings Mommy on the Spot Thankful Thursday: Running, Nature, and Yoga

Erin Janda Rawlings Mommy on the Spot Thankful Thursday: Running, Nature, and Yoga

Yoga, well, yoga has definitely  has toned my shoulders.  I have been going so regularly these days, Red Lotus Yoga is kind of like my Cheers bar.  I run late almost every Friday.  One Friday, the teacher and the receptionist said, “Erin, don’t worry.  We signed you in.  Go on to class.”

Erin Janda Rawlings Mommy on the Spot Thankful Thursday: Running, Nature, and Yoga
I love starting my Friday off with Eliza and Alyssa!  Alyssa is one of my favorite teachers EVER!

I was taken surprise by how deeply comforted this simple gesture made me feel.

Anyway, I don’t go to church, but at yoga, I do feel a connection to something bigger than myself.  When I am quiet and encouraged to set an intention, I am able to feel peaceful and able to find a sense of gratitude that is naturally very difficult for me. 

I am not saying that every day I’m floating on a blissful cloud of inner peace, but I do notice little changes that make me feel more in charge of my emotions that have, in turn, given me a better chance at feeling more at peace.

So if you were to tell me I’d love running outside and practicing yoga so much that I am now a regular at the yoga studio, I would have laughed a cynical laugh.

Thankfully, I am not that person anymore.

**This combo works for me.  Everyone’s magic combo is different, and I commend anyone who is able to figure that out, whatever that combo may be.

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