The Best Medicine

Last night, I was starting to really feel it. My calves, thighs, arms; it seemed like every muscle was stretched and sore. A low ache that had been with me all day was beginning to speak a little louder so I decided to take the cue and give my body the morning off today, but only today.

I know the pain is the result of me slipping away yet again from my regular exercise habit and my recent re-committal to rising early for morning yoga before the rest of the family is awake.

Even though my muscles are complaining a bit now, I know this will pass as I get back in to my groove of daily practice and it’s worth it to me for too many reasons.

Life is unpredictable. Some days go smoothly, some are great and then some are really hard and stressful. Regardless of what comes my way, I know how I want to feel and that I want to be able to manage my emotions. I want to deal with whatever the day brings, calmly and with kindness and care.

When I’m stressed out, crabby and angry or feeling stuck and depressed, this becomes almost impossible. And that is how I feel when I stop making time to exercise and eat well.

Getting out of bed an hour early is my ideal way to begin each day. My mind has the space and time stop the endless loops of chatter and worry as my body is energized, enjoying the flow of endorphins. This is the calm and happiness that stays with me and carries me through the day.

As much as exercise on a regular basis can help you manage or lose weight and look good, there is so much else it does as well:

  • Exercise, along with keeping a journal and meditation, has been my medicine for several years now. My anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, insomnia and even ppd treatment of choice.
  • Beginning my day with quiet, private time for myself helps me be more centered, calm and happy for the rest of the day.
  • Exercise shows you how strong you really are, just by getting up and doing it. But especially on the days when you don’t feel like it or you push yourself to new goals.

    For me, it’s when I’m holding a difficult pose during yoga like warrior 2.
    woman doing yoga, in warrior two asana
    Image from fitsugar.com
    .
  • And it’s an awesome reminder that we all have this inner strength, available to us at any time.

It’s easy to forget when things seem to be happening against us or going wrong. It’s easy to feel powerless and small in a world full of forces we don’t understand and can’t control.

And it is true, we can’t control everything that happens around us but we can control the way we react and how we respond.

Just accepting that we are not in control of everything and everyone and that it’s ok can be a relief. When we already feel like so much is on our shoulders, letting go of some of that need or want for control can actually be comforting.

My morning yoga is making me a more patient mom, a more present wife and friend and a happier person. While my muscles are still letting me know how hard they’ve been working the past few mornings as they rest today, I know I’ll be stronger for it tomorrow.

For more information on the benefits of exercise:
Exercise and Depression
Exercise: The Best Medicine

4 thoughts on “The Best Medicine

  1. Yes, yes YES! I have been getting up before the kids to enjoy my own home practice. I only get 10-15 minutes in before everyone is up, but my god – what a difference it makes in my entire day. Good for you getting back on the horse. It’s that wonderful feeling that brings you back even after a long stretch away (no pun intended).

    • That is awesome Carinn! I have a hard time getting up early most days but it’s totally worth it for me as well. It’s amazing what even just 15 minutes can do. Thanks so much for reading!

  2. You are so right with exercise and meditation for your feel good drugs! I feel so much better with an exercise routine, which includes yoga, and my meditation. Good staples for mental health:-)

    • Thanks so much Susan! It is amazing how much just including those things in your daily schedule can make a difference.

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