I have a confession: I haven't been to yoga in a while. I know, everyone thinks health coaches are these pliable creatures that sit in lotus pose all day, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Life is all about balance and being flexible with yourself and your needs, which is why I've chosen to focus on more strength training lately, something that could change in a few months.
But, a friend invited me to a yoga class this week and I figured it was time to get back on the mat to do a little stretching and centering. While I was able to get right back on track with my downward dog and chair pose, it took a bit of time to remember how to center myself. I've gone through a lot of changed in the last few months, switching jobs, planning a wedding (4 months to go!), etc., and have rarely taken a moment to disconnect and reconnect.
As I began to get frustrated with myself a bit for letting the girl's toned abs in front of me and the noise of the traffic on Broadway distract me, the instructor offered some simple advice. He talked about finding your mantra. This didn't mean memorizing some ancient Tibetan chant; he suggested finding your own phrase of words that could be used in class and on a daily basis to keep you calm and connected.
Going through all of these major life changes has left me feeling a bit out of control and can often manifest as anxiety. So, with that in mind I chose the very, very simple mantra of "let go." Every time I inhaled I said the word "let" in my mind and exhaled to the word "go." By the end of class I was feeling relaxed and reinvigorated as I had cleared my mind and let go of the arbitrary expectations I had put on myself over the past couple of months.
Since that class, I have used the mantra walking on the streets of New York (lord knows it's hard to find peace there) and when ever I find myself stressed out.
So, what will your mantra be?