Leaving it All on the Mat :: What Restorative Yoga Taught Me about Rest and Healing

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A few months ago I really got into yoga. Over the last few years I’ve gotten into the practice dropping in on a few classes periodically but have never been consistent. Shortly after giving birth to our son, in the wake of a difficult third trimester, I decided that I would take better care of myself. One of the many things that included would be consistent exercise. So, after my doctor cleared me, we joined a gym. Then, I committed to working out at least three times a week.

Coming to the Mat

I was never an athlete or a gym rat, but I actually began to love working out, surprisingly. It was difficult and took a lot of discipline, though. In the beginning the idea of breaking away for a 30-minute workout was pretty new, especially because it required me to detach myself from my newborn. But once I found my groove, working out became second nature and found a permanent place in my routine. The gym we are members of offers weekly group fitness classes and on one Saturday I found myself in a 50 minute yoga class. Ever since that day, my Saturday mornings are reserved for yoga, as it has become the best way to end the week. 

Finding your Mantra

One of my favorite things about yoga is the feeling I experience after I leave the mat. Known as a “yoga high,” the euphoria that is released right after practicing is overwhelming. Yoga is often recommended for stress relief because it teaches the gift of mindfulness. What I have learned is that everyone comes to the mat for different reasons. Some would like to improve flexibility and endurance, while others come for meditation and healing.

Still the Mind

A few weeks ago I was introduced to restorative yoga. Restorative yoga is a meditative practice that focuses more on relieving tension and stress from the body. It allows you to restore balance, decrease stress, and activate healing. This healing can be physical, mental, or spiritual. A good friend and I recently attended a class held locally at Abundance Yoga and it was a game changer for us. Needing to clear our heads, we were welcomed into a place of healing. Prior to the class starting, everyone was asked how their 2021 was going and what our hopes are for next year. It was an uplifting exercise. As each of us shared around the room, we were all banded together in a place of rest, recommitment, and renewal. 

Breathing In. Breathing Out.  

One of my new goals I have for now and the upcoming New Year is to be more intentional in pursuits concerning me. Oftentimes we reserve intentionality for our relationships with others but not with ourselves. Personally, yoga has made me aware of that lack. It has not only taught me focus but also the necessity of mental and physical rest. The mat has become a safe place, a sanctuary, and a haven for me. I am so thankful to have this new practice and, through it, the ability to restore my own healing. 

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Kiara is a small town girl raised in Oxford Alabama. She is a graduate of Stillman College where she received her Bachelors in Journalism and her Masters in Communication Management at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. After graduating from UAB, Birmingham felt like home and she never left! She married her college sweetheart and resides in Chelsea with their daughter, Kinslee (5), newborn son Carson (2 months old), and their 8 year old Maltese Bentley. Kiara has been a human resource professional over the last decade and currently is the Human Resource Manager for Cintas Corporation. She is also the creator of the career/lifestyle blog Beauty & the Briefcase. In her very “limited free time” she enjoys travel, fine dining with friends, quiet uninterrupted sips of coffee, working out, yoga, and of course blogging.

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