Yoga has been the biggest “I told ya so” in my life. I used to think of it as glorified stretching. As my practice has developed over the past year and a half, I have come to appreciate it as so much more. Yoga challenges me both physically and mentally to remain stable.
Progressing into a difficult pose, I wobble and shake. My mind focuses on the movement. But then, I relax into the pose. I let the world move around me, let gravity and all the forces outside my control challenge me, as I center on the only thing that I have command over – myself.
Yoga evokes a sense of my internal locus of control. My behavior is not predominantly guided by fate, luck, or external circumstances; but rather by my personal decisions and efforts.
Since I have been dealing with a running injury for the past two months, yoga has been one of the only forms of exercise that I can perform. At first, I craved it for the strength and sweat. I saw the benefits as physical, not mental. While yoga has certainly enabled me to maintain muscle tone as my running shoes gather dust; I realize now that the mental elements of my yoga practice have, in some ways, been more valuable to my healing process.
All too easily, I could have developed a depressive mindset and given up hope of running again. However, my near daily yoga practice reminds me that I have control over how I respond to both hurdles and advances in the healing process. Just as in yoga, the power to balance comes from the forces within, the capacity to pursue recovery, despite setbacks, comes from inside me. With the mental fortitude I have developed in yoga, I will be back on the trails soon, stronger than before.