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My mother-in-law surprised me tonight by coming to take Big Girl out to dinner and sticking around afterward so I could go to yoga. I was thrilled. More than thrilled. I nearly danced to my car. It’s been a month since I’ve gone to a regular class at Little Yoga House, my favorite yoga studio.

The trip was just what I needed. I went in, sat down on my mat, and lost myself. Lost the four stories I have to write by the end of the week. Lost the birthday favors I need to put together for Big Girl’s class and the ones for her birthday party, too. Lost the Girl Scout tasks I need to take care of, too, and the vegetables I need to drop at the food pantry tomorrow. Lost the fact that my husband has two more surgeries in front of him. Lost the fact that I had to say no to an editorial director today — something I hate doing.

Once I got into that room I went inside my body for the first time in weeks. Because while I do yoga daily, it’s usually the fit-it-in kind. The few asanas that get squished in between dropping Little Girl off at school and my first conference call of the day. I’m not able to spend an hour outside of my head and in it at the same time.

Within that hour I felt how much stress I am holding in my hips. How my right hip in particular was super-tight, and how the left one released the tension. Downward facing dog to flipping my dog to downward dog split, the tension slowly left my body. Eka Pada Rajakapotasana — pigeon pose. My right leg bent into a right angle. My left leg far behind me. Bending my left leg up and catching my ankle, more pain, more release except this time my quadriceps were the beneficiary. Arms, back, shoulders, neck, even my abs were wound tight, a physical manifestation of what goes on inside my body and head every day.

And while I wasn’t thinking about all the stuff that drags me down and worries me? I was able to reflect. To think good things about myself, my family, my husband. I was able to give thanks for what I have for a change, and forget about what I don’t. Combined, I walked out of that class recharged, happy, and relaxed. My muscles and bones had spaces between them. My body felt free. I was at peace.

Simply put, yoga inspires me, and makes me think about what’s important. Money and success are nothing if we are too stressed and unhappy to enjoy it. Our bodies are useless if we are too tight and uncomfortable to appreciateĀ  the joy it can bring. And our mind is not ours if it’s filled with all the have-tos and should-haves. Yoga centers me. While I hate to say it, I really have to make more time for yoga. Shouldn’t you, too?

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