A couple years ago, I wrote a guest post called “Why I Yoga?” for as part of a series for Grow Soul Beautiful about why I incorporate the practice of yoga into my life. I stumbled upon it the other day and realized I needed to be reminded of the message. Therefore, I thought I would share the lesson I learned about the importance of a strong core with all of you.
While on the plane, the airlines broadcast the following safety announcement before each flight: “Make sure that your own oxygen mask is on first, before helping others.” The same principle can be applied to life. I believe that you can’t help others in the most effective manner if you aren’t helping yourself first. One of the ways I help myself is to practice yoga.
Yoga is a very personal practice which makes me stretch myself past my limits, physically and mentally. It encourages me to persevere and ignore negative thoughts; it empowers me to become the best version of myself.
I first was introduced to yoga when I started rowing seven years ago as a way to strengthen my physical core. Our coach suggested the practice to our team as a way for us to take care our bodies. Rowing requires individuals to have strong back and stomach muscles. I haven’t stopped since and incorporate the lessons I learned into my daily life. When I started my practice, I thought yoga was all about the physical body and helping me grow a stronger physical core. What I didn’t realize was there was a change that was happening in me: my inner core (my soul) was also strengthening.
It was then that I learned the importance of silencing the inner voices in my mind. When I started, one of the hardest poses for me was Savasana (a.k.a, corpse pose). It is the last pose of my yoga practice, where you lie on the ground on your back with your eyes closed. This seems like the easiest pose, right? However, the purpose of this pose is to calm and centre the mind. My yoga teacher told me that during this time, I am supposed to quiet the mind and not think about anything. I found this really difficult, as I’m a thinker and there are always random thoughts running through my head. The lessons I have learned through my practice of Yoga have also helped me in other areas of my life, such as dealing with my inner critic. I had listened to my inner critic in the past and let it prevent me from reaching my full potential.
Over time, Savasana has become easier for me and I now look forward to it as a way to challenge myself. I have learned how to channel my thoughts, silence my mind and my inner critic, and focus on my breathing. Yoga really does help you overcome stress, perform better, and reach your full potential mentally and physically.
Being aware of the thoughts that are going on in your mind and focusing on the positive ones are essential lessons for a better life. Instead of a competition with others as rowing is, I love going to yoga as a competition with myself to become the best I can be. It provides me with the fuel I need for life – a strong inner and outer core!
Therefore, I have to ask: what is the importance of a strong core? What are some strategies you use to strengthen your inner and outer core?
Thank you for reading and your presence at this beach retreat. You Rock! I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the Comments section below.
See you at the beach!