Monday, May 20, 2013

Mona Lisa's Yoga Smile

I've been taking a yoga class on Tuesdays after the recommendation okay order of my doctor. I went to her very stressed out and hyper-focused, and she suggested I learn to quiet my mind through yoga. "But not a yoga DVD in your living room surrounded by reminders of your busy life!" she wagged her finger at me. "A yoga class. Real yoga!"

I agreed. I'd always wanted to learn yoga - not just take yoga, but really learn it - and what better time than now, when my doctor was literally ordering me to do it? As luck would have it, there is a free yoga class at my church, less than a mile from my house, every Tuesday morning. Jackpot! 

Well I don't have to go on and on about how much I love it. I knew I would, and I do. I'm learning a lot, and pulling those lessons into the rest of my life as well. One of my favorite parts of the class is the end, when we're quieting our minds in corpse pose, and our instructor Catherine invites us to let the ends of our mouths turn up into a slight smile. I've found, happily, that it is absolutely impossible for me to be stressed out, worried, pent-up, or annoyed when I am smiling.

When I was a kid I used to play a little game with myself. When I saw someone with a distinct expression on their face, usually when they didn't realize anyone was looking at them and they looked just how they look, I would try to mimic it. I'd do my best to make the same expression, and when I nailed it, I'd notice how my mood changed as a result. I would almost feel like I could feel their thoughts, mood, and disposition, and it helped me feel like I understood them more. As a result, I was able to be more empathetic towards them if we should ever interact.

Every walk through wellness is unique, but rarely are they on completely new paths. We all know someone who has been in our shoes, or someone in whose shoes we have been. Listening to them tell about their journey is like yoga for our brains - we can reminisce similar times, anticipate experiencing the same thing, and be inspired by the achievements of our friends. 

This week, get out there and get healthy by tapping into the inspirational community of wellness around you. Listen to a weekend warrior story, cheer on a friend, support someone else, and allow the ends of your mouth turn up into a slight smile. The results are 100% guaranteed.

Now get out there and get healthy!


Ellen said...

My Pilates instructor is always reminding us to smile (as well as engage our core!) and it does, indeed, make quite a difference in one's mood.


'Drea said...

You have a very smart and cool doctor...

Healthy Heather said...

Ellen, I'm glad to hear you are smiling! :) 'Drea, I agree, she is way cool and open-minded; I appreciate that a lot!