When people ask me what I like about yoga, my answer is always the same: it’s not so much about liking yoga as it is about genuinely not remembering how I was a sane, functioning human being before I started doing it. Sure, I love the health benefits, the camaraderie, and the cute yoga outfits (I have a pair of tie-dye leggings that are so chic, you guys), but all my favorite things about yoga are the things that happen long after I’ve finished downward dog-ing for the day.
Yoga has taught me, directly and indirectly, how to deal with life. Breathing, meditating, stretching, holding challenging poses for long periods of time, and soaking up spiritual lessons from my awesome yoga teachers — all of these things have become priceless skills I use every day. To illustrate, let’s take a look at five stressful situations, how I would have handled them before I discovered yoga, and how yoga taught me to handle them like a champ.
The Situation: I have three major articles due in an hour and friends coming over 15 minutes after that, and I still haven’t showered and the sink is full of dirty dishes oh my GODDDD.
How I Used To Handle It: Hide under the covers while stress-eating chocolate chip muffins.
How Yoga Taught Me To Handle It: Think, “If I can hold devotional warrior pose for three minutes while my thighs are screaming for mercy, I can totally handle this.” And then I get my articles in, take a 30-second shower, hide the dishes, and put together a gorgeous fucking cheese plate.
The Situation: A mechanic is trying to charge me $1,500 for a new air filter and has called me “little lady” six times in the process.
How I Used To Handle It: Get super intimidated and uncomfortable and agree to whatever he wanted to charge to avoid confrontation.
How Yoga Taught Me To Handle It: Think, “the light in me honors the light in you,” and hope he finds his light soon. In the meantime, I’m taking my car to a different mechanic.
The Situation: Boss came to work in a terrible mood and proceeded to throw a huge fit about a file folder that was placed on the shelf at the “wrong angle,” whatever that means.
How I Used To Handle It: Get personally offended, absorb boss’s bad mood, feel crappy for days.
How Yoga Taught Me To Handle It: Remember this one time in savasana that the teacher had us visualize all the negative energy in our lives being squeezed out the soles of our feet like a bad vibes garlic press. Imagine my boss’s words as a brown ooze squeezing out of my feet. Imagery is gross but deeply comforting.
The Situation: Cable company randomly overcharged me by $150, which caused me to overdraw my checking account. I’ve been on hold with them for 45 minutes trying to get it sorted out.
How I Used To Handle It: Work myself up into a frenzy and then burst into tears when someone finally says, “How can we help you?”
How Yoga Taught Me To Handle It: Breathe in, breathe out. Focus on your breath. Breathe in, breathe out. Suddenly being on hold is just an opportunity for a mini meditation break. When someone finally answers, I’m feeling centered and refreshed. “How are you today?” I ask the cable company representative, and I really want the answer.
The Situation: Trying on swimsuits in a poorly lit dressing room after lunch at Chipotle. Enough said.
How I Used To Handle It: Freak out. Hate my body.
How Yoga Taught Me To Handle It: Give my body love and respect for the beautiful miracle it is and screw any swimsuit or dressing room mirror that seems to think otherwise. Go home, take a bubble bath, and do a little yoga as a thank-you note to this fabulous body of mine. Also, order swimsuits online from now on. That’s why the Internet was invented.