In November, we’re asking the community “What’s Your Why?” What drives you to work out when you don’t want to? Why do you return to your mat for your yoga practice? What keeps you returning to a healthy lifestyle? What motivates YOU?
My life anthem is Beyonce’s I Was Here. This philosophy of being ever-present and leaving a mark on the world drives me. It motivates my teaching in Boston Public Schools. I’m inspired me to be a better wife. It reminds me to be a patient friend. This also means that I have to take care of myself, so I can continue to be here for a long time.
There are a lot of days where I do not want to go to the gym or do yoga. I’m tired. I’m emotionally drained. Sometimes, I just want to sit on the couch and eat Cheetos and watch The Office for the 500th time. Usually, my husband reminds me that I’ll feel better if I go do something. And, it’s always true. But, more than the immediate physical uplift I get from a good sweat or a good savasana, I have to remember I’m banking these good feelings for the future.
What’s MY Why?
My grandfather was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes when he was in his 40s. He went on to lose all his toes and needed near-daily dialysis. This was in the 80s and 90s, and dialysis wasn’t an easy thing to come by in rural Vermont. My grandmother drove him over an hour each way through snow, ice, and mountains to ensure he got the treatment he needed. My grandfather’s illness and their 50+ years of marriage and devotion to each other is a major part of my why.
I want to be able to live my fullest life and that means being physically and emotionally well. There’s nothing as difficult as that first downward facing dog of the day. Your calf muscles are crampy and your hamstrings won’t straighten, but… by the 10th one? You’re a new person. Your muscles remind you they are capable of great flexibility and resilience even when you feel you yourself are not.
My Why, Part 2
Throughout my life I have struggled with anxiety. Yoga was the first thing that started to calm that and give me the tools I needed to move through with deeper breath and greater clarity. It’s not a perfect tool and does not always work but, more often than not, I can find a way to release my stress and anxiety.
As more studies show the debilitating effects of stress on body and mind and the potential links between stress and Alzheimer’s, yoga seems more essential than ever. It’s hard to think that as a healthy 30-something year old, that whatever you do now is affecting you on a cellular level, but it’s true. As a result, a major part of my why is keeping my cells happy and healthy. How can I use the tools I have to lessen my chances of a chronic illness and preserve the life I love with the people I love?
I’m not a great yogi. I’m definitely a Bad Yogi. I also know that I want to be a badass 60 year old yogi who is still bending and sweating and shaking. I want to be here for as long as I can, so even when it’s hard and I want to snuggle on the couch with my Cheetos, I’ll get my ass up and go to yoga or the gym because it’s not just for today, it’s for an hour from now, a day from now, a decade from now. It’s not just for me- it’s for my husband, and my students, and my impact.