Therapy: defined by Google as, “treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder”. Sounds simple enough. Yet, a social stigma continues to exist surrounding the implications of the word: the kinds of people who participate in it and their reasons for being there.
Having never attended a therapy session and with little knowledge of the subject, I have always believed time to be the best source of healing: please note my first cliché of the year. General experience confirms that with each passing day, rooted in whatever cause, the feeling of pain becomes more and more bearable. For a longtime, I was forced to resort to this waiting game for closure: a natural course of action that I really have no control over. And then I learned how to sweat it out.
Thanks to Madonna and other like-minded celebs, who worked effortlessly to defy the anti-aging process, a new fitness trend hit the market. And all of a sudden, taking on a variety of creaturesque poses became the new norm: please note my first new word of the year.
A regular gym-goer, I maintained that simply stretching was not active enough to be considered a “real” workout.
Skeptical: double yes.
The combination of meditation and physical fitness seemed to suggest an underlying spiritual tone, a concept completely foreign to me.
Oftentimes, those who invest much of their time in exercising rely too much on a standard routine. Same old reps, same old sets. In doing so, they tend to plateau. To shake things up, when a friend invited me to join her for a yoga class, I agreed. Initially intimidated by the branded “yogi” culture and the fact that students communicate through whisper (not exactly my forte), I soon realized that yoga is all about pushing yourself to the edge. And that’s my kind of jam.
Since then, I’ve come to embrace hot power yoga as a weekly ritual and the perfect way to start off the weekend (I don’t exactly know when that changed from fighting off the first of multiple hangovers). While I identify as an enthusiast of the downward dog, I have yet to become a vegetarian or permanently stamp myself with the Lulu print.
Along with triggering physical, mental and emotional stimulation, the practice teaches how to translate lessons from the mat to everyday living. It’s about refocusing your energy, challenging your body and establishing your intentions: all with the use of no equipment and likely in the presence of the studio’s maximum capacity limit. Think, the ultimate leg day with a side of controlled breathing and a sip of clear thinking. And possibly TMI: you will sweat, where no man has sweat before.
There’s something about learning how to trust the power of a trembling arm or gaining confidence with each dripping bead that makes you a stronger person, both inside and out. Wet head to toe, feeling almost brand new, and along with the sweat, all negative feelings are released. Dare I use the word cleanse. Each class a time for personal growth and reflection, yoga serves as my therapy. No words required, my current intent is learning how to let go. A movement turned lifestyle, yoga therapy brings a whole new meaning to lying on your back with your eyes closed.