12.01.2013

I am thankful for yoga, a guest post by Kelsey Fishman

My fabulous sister Kelsey wanted to contribute to this year's thankfulness series but hadn't had a chance yet. Kelsey is a yoga instructor and knew she wanted to write about her yoga practice. Over the Thanksgiving holiday she and I enjoyed some extra time together at our grandma's. One of her goals was to get this post together, so, one evening my aunts and I sat with Kelsey at the kitchen table and interviewed her on her yoga practice. I took notes; the result was this lovely essay...


I am thankful for yoga. I am thankful for yoga because it helps me reduce stress and find contentment. It challenges me both physically and mentally. Physically, it helps me get in better shape. It increases your flexibility. It helps me sleep better. I guess it is both physical and mental, how it helps me get rid of anything excess. You can push yourself to exhaustion in a good way and find your bliss state. Mentally, it helps me let me go of my ego and judgment of myself.  It teaches me patience. It’s very detoxifying.  However long your class or personal practice is, for that time you don’t have to worry about anything else that is going on. It quiets the chatter, the internal chitchat that goes on.  It gives you a great sense of self-acceptance. You feel accomplished. You have an individual sense of accomplishment, but as your breathing together in class, you also have a collective sense of accomplishment. You start to see all the amazing things your body can do, just as it is, so you start to like your body just as it is today.

Yoga with Auntie

You can’t look at the person next to you who has been doing yoga for twenty five years, because your body might not move like that. Your body might never move like that, but everyone has a pose they can do, a pose they can rock at.

Teaching my 84-year-old grandma who has a rod in her spine some yoga moves was really cool. She felt really good when I showed her all the modifications that made it work for her. I really enjoy the teaching aspect of yoga. I enjoy when people have that ah ha moment when they do something they couldn’t do before.

Yoga doesn’t just help me when I am at yoga. It helps me when I am at work, on the phone, at home. It teaches me breath control. I am more able to control my mind. It’s slowed me down. I can concentrate on that mantra, inhale acceptance, exhale, tension. Inhale, self acceptance, exhale, anger. Inhale compassion, exhale, self doubt.   It lets you go to your personal mountain. I probably would have thought that sounded pretty quacky five years ago…  It’s a commitment. It’s something I adhere to.

I tell my class at the end of our practice to take a moment and lay here with your eyes closed. Observe how you feel right now. My class is relaxed, rejuvenated, and calm. I challenge them to maintain this feeling for the rest of the night. It’s hard. It’s hard for everyone. It’s hard for me.  It’s yoga practice, not yoga perfect. We’re all in practice; there is always another mountain to conquer, and then another…


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This post is part of our 2013 Thankfulness Series. If you are interested in contributing,  please email me at kathrynfweaver@gmail.com.

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