It was 2005 and I was in the middle of training to become a Registered Massage Therapist. One of our courses was “Therapeutic Exercise.” Not only did we learn about specific rehab exercises, but we learned a little bit about other exercises that could also benefit our patients.
When we got to the Yoga section I remember thinking, “It’s basically just over-rated stretching.”
And of course, stretching is good but really, what is all this fuss about?
We also had an in-depth class on breathing. While it was interesting, I wondered how this was going to help anyone?
The problem was that I couldn’t see the benefits from only 15 minutes of Yoga. I was still in good shape from the Kickboxing I had done for the past 2 years. I thought I had learned all about it. I thought I understood Yoga, but couldn’t see it actually working.
Once I was close to finishing school, all hell broke loose!
I didn’t make time for exercise and even if I did, I couldn’t actually do anything. Moving too fast or holding too still would make my arms go numb. I had horrible headaches and neck pain. All the time I’d been spending hunched over studying, was finally taking its toll.
I also suddenly became a business owner. Sure, I’d held a part-time job since 16, but now owned a business and was supposedly an “Adult.” My body was exhausted from final exams, and I had accumulated some major student debt. I felt so overwhelmed and started to experience anxiety attacks.
My doctor prescribed medication. Meds? Really? (Yeah, because it was obvious that I had a severe SSRI and Ibuprofen deficiency.)
But I knew better. For me, medication would be the last resort. I had just learned all this wonderful stuff in school, and my first patient was going to be myself!
I found a local Yoga class for beginners. I signed up to attend one class a week, for 8 weeks. If I didn’t notice any difference after that, I would try the medication.
The class was slow moving and gentle. VERY different than the competitive Kickboxing classes I once took. And after 6 weeks I was shocked! No more anxiety attacks. My headaches and neck pain were at least 75% better. From then on, I was sold! And I’ve been doing Yoga ever since.
Now, I tell people that if they can’t commit to doing a few preventative exercises every day, then they should commit to just 1 hour of yoga a week. Often it’s easier to do it all at once than trying to do a bit every day on your own, without support.
I must admit, I still slack a bit every now and then (I am only human). But when I start to feel my breathing quicken, my fingers tingle, or my neck crick, I re-commit 8 hours to my therapy, to my health, to my life.
Liana Bakker is an entrepreneur and author with a background in health care. She wants to show people that they can live a life that’s true to who they really are. She shares stories to inspire and information to help people take care better care themselves. Looking to feel happier and less stressed? Check out www.lianabakker.com for a free E-book on ’67 Ways To Help You Get Happy’!