It's been more than 10 years since I first found yoga. Unlike so many others, I can't say I was hooked on yoga right from the start. In the beginning, I found it too mentally challenging. Too slow. Too much time to think. Too difficult to follow the instructor's breathing cues. What I didn't realize at the time is that yoga was exactly what I needed, so I'm thankful that it kept finding its way back into my life.
Over the years, yoga has helped me to better manage my struggles with depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, and my health with cystic fibrosis. I have found the pranayama part of yoga (breathing exercises) to be incredibly helpful in slowing down -- and deepening -- my breath. It's helped me get back to the “belly breathing” I remember learning as a kid in CF clinic.
The asana, or physical practice, of yoga has helped me to gain strength and flexibility and challenges me in ways that I welcome. Yoga is called a practice for a reason; ultimately there is no end goal. As long as we practice, we can continue to grow and deepen our stretches and postures and watch them evolve over time. The combination of the pranayama and asana together has helped me to learn to appreciate and live in the moment and slow down my often racing thoughts.
The great thing about yoga is it's easily accessible to anyone and everyone at any time, no matter their physical capabilities. There is no special equipment required (i.e., yoga mats and fancy leggings are optional). All you need is an open mind, willingness, and clothes that allow you to move.
Want more yoga videos? You can watch “Yoga for CF” online, which was created by Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters in Norfolk, Va. To get the “Yoga for CF” DVD, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the title of the DVD, the quantity, and your contact information (name, phone number, and mailing address including building/room number).