How I Fell in Love With the Yoga – Guest Post By Colleen Hayes
Good morning and welcome to What Runs Lori!
Today we have a wonderful guest post by a dear friend, incredible colleague, and stunning Yogi, Colleen Hayes. I have had the pleasure of working with Colleen over the years in our professional careers but today you and I get to find out what runs Colleen and how she fell in love with yoga…
First off, thank you to the beautiful and amazing Lori for inviting me to write for this blog. I’m here to share some tidbits with you all about my favorite topic: yoga.
At the age of seventeen, I found “the yoga.” My sisters dragged me to a class at our local gym. Throughout the entire class, I laughed. I mocked my sisters’ weird loud breathing. I did NOT take it seriously. This yoga thing was not for me. It was too serious, too strange.
As the years rolled on, I started coming back to my mat. Yoga became a place for me to stretch, breathe, and move. Movement has been my favorite part of living since I was a young girl. I’ve been a dancer, performer, and self-proclaimed “bull in a china shop” as long as I can remember. Yoga was a natural addition to my fast-paced lifestyle, however, I just couldn’t really commit to it. When I graduated college in 2013, I found myself in a complete whirlwind. I was going through a breakup (that had dragged out for quite some time,) was partying too much, not sleeping enough, and felt like I had a huge hole in my heart that needed filling.
A coworker of mine recommended, “yoga sculpt” at this place called, CorePower Yoga. I walked in on a Saturday morning not knowing what to expect, and left sweaty and smiling. The workout was intense and amazing. I not only got to practice yoga, but also lifted weights at the same exact time – one of my favorite ways to exercise. This sh!t was real.
CorePower does this awesome thing where you can practice for a full week – FOR FREE! So I drank up the CPY kool-aid, and took a ton of classes. When my free week was coming to an end, I was super sad. My new favorite teacher, Amberlie, stopped me and said – you know you can practice for free here right? So of course, I learned how and joined the CPY family as a “yoga for trader” where you used to be able to dedicate three hours a week to maintain the studio, and practice for free.
Over the next several months, I fell deep into my yoga practice. Yoga was such a calming tool for my mind – which was often cluttered with “to do” lists, worries, and plans. I felt more centered, more prepared to take on difficult situations, and more aligned physically and emotionally. You might wonder what I mean by this. When you aren’t taking care of your mind and your body in the same way, it can really take a toll on your spirit. Yoga grants us the opportunity to meditate while flowing yoga poses together. This helps “align” everything if you will, in a way that lots of exercise cannot.
Eventually, I needed more in my practice. So, I signed up for 200-hour teacher training at CPY and soaked in all of the yoga knowledge goodness until I finally became an instructor in August of this year. Teacher training was such a fantastic experience. You get to share a TON of time with people who love yoga just as much as you do, and learn so much. Yoga brings something special to life, and everyone interprets that differently. Training helped me open up my eyes and understand how this practice can really change your life.
For me, yoga has added a lot of joy to every day. It is a sweaty, fun, practice that connects your mind, body, and spirit all at once. Where else can you get that kind of magic?? The best part about it, in my opinion, is the mental aspect. I have always been a big “over thinker” when it comes to work, relationships, and friendships. One of the niyamas, or observances of yoga, is called Santosha. Santosha means contentment. This principle has helped me to become more at peace with exactly how things are. Once you stop trying to control everything around you, you can live more peacefully each day.
There is really so much to talk about with yoga, however, I figured I would leave you with a few fun tidbits if you are looking to get into it, amp up your practice, or make some adjustments to your lifestyle.
1. Try a bunch of classes! Every type of yoga has something special to offer.
2. Work yoga into your daily routine. Stretch at your desk if you work in an office, practice your yoga breathing in the car on long drives, be more mindful about everything you do.
3. Take ten minutes a day to meditate. This can be hard to stick to! Set a timer for 11 minutes (so you have some time to do a quick “brain dump” and truly get settled in the meditation)
4. New to meditation? Sit in a cross-legged seat, plant your hand on your knees (palms facing up or palms facing down), sit up tall, and breathe. Option to close your eyes or option to focus on something like a candle, a photo, anything that brings you positive energy and light.
5. Whenever you practice – set an intention for yourself. Is it to give more love? To be more trusting? Whatever is calling to you, let that guide you.
7. Think about the energy you are bringing “to the table.” Are you slumping in your chair in meetings at work? Do you have a sour look on your face shopping at the grocery store? Inhale peaceful energy; exhale serenity to those around you.
8. Try out an essential oil. I LOVE lavender essential oil. It has calming properties, smells great, and is perfect to use after a bath, before bed, or during your yoga practice. Dabbing a bit behind my ears and on my wrists can totally change my mood.
9. Get a GREAT mat. I love “The Mat” from Lululemon.
Thank you so much for reading. I would love to join you all again sometime soon, to expand on any of these topics. Like I said, I could talk or write about yoga for days on end.
All the love and light,