Yoga, meditation powerful tools to deal with change
Our lives are constantly changing.
Change asks us to be brave, to let go of our expectations and learn from life’s ups and downs. But it isn’t easy.
IT Project leader Michael Creel, 43, has recently experienced big changes in his life: A new job, the passing of his 95-year-old grandmother, relocation to a new city and an end to a long-time relationship. He says his Yoga and meditation practices are guiding him toward a place of peace, allowing him to “let go” and embrace those changes.
“YAM opened at the perfect time in my life,” says Michael, who attends YAM’s many different Yoga classes. “The Yoga mat has been my refuge, spiritually and physically, this last year of change. I’ve come to accept what is by being in the moment and knowing what I want my life to look like.”
In a yoga and meditation practice, we aim to release our thoughts and just be. While relaxing, we’re aware of the moment, the present, of our breath – and the mind can release. When we let go of our busy thoughts, our inner voice tries to reveal itself. We calm down and lower our stress.
It is in this inner peaceful state that “we see that everything is breathing, changing always, and that the only constant is change and we can flow with this natural evolution and trust in the universe, “says Tish Hilyer, a Yoga instructor and massage therapist at YAM. “It is when we become attached or stuck that we experience suffering.
“By following the breath, we can reach a calm, meditative state where we can listen to our True Self. By making Yoga and meditation a daily practice, we are able to experience this blissful place within ourselves more often. And who doesn’t want that? asks Tish.
Michael, who also enjoys fly fishing, cooking, gardening and art collecting, started practicing Yoga more than 10 years ago, and was hooked from the very beginning. He started with hot Bikram Yoga, then moved to Hatha and Vinyasa Flow. Even though his job required lots of travel, he managed to keep up with his practice.
Over the years, Yoga has helped him become stronger, more flexible and has put him on a spiritual path that is forever ongoing.
Michael says people have misconceptions of what meditation feels like.
“Meditation is not some blissed out, ideal, LaLa land. It’s sitting on the mat, breathing and getting out of your head and into your heart, into your energy. It can be a difficult process, that’s OK, it’s where the benefits are,” he says.
The YAM studio is unique, Michael says, because of the diversity in classes. It’s small enough that he feels a sense of community. “Averee and all the teachers have created such a family atmosphere there,” he says.
“I came to YAM at the biggest transition in my life, but no matter how good or bad things are, the yoga mat is always there. It is my time and space to be present with myself,” Michael says.
Perhaps this poem, written by Danna Faulds, says it all. Michael first heard this poem, titled “Let It Go,” at a Yoga retreat.
Let go of the ways you thought life would unfold:
The holding of plans or dreams or expectations – Let it all go. Save your strength to swim with the tide.
The choice to fight what is here before you now will
Only result in struggle, fear, and desperate attempts
To flee from the very energy you long for. Let go.
Let it all go and flow with the grace that washes
Through your days whether you received it gently
Or with all your quills raised to defend against invaders.
Take this on faith; the mind may never find the
explanations that it seeks but you will move forward
nonetheless. Let go, and the wave’s crest will carry
you to unknown shores, beyond your wildest dreams
or destinations. Let it all go and find the place of
rest and peace, and certain transformation.