I’ve been an exercise addict for as long as I can remember. In activities from ballet to baseball since the age of five, I loved all forms of movement – running, dancing, swimming, and especially team sports.
I tried as many sports as I could through school and ended up on a competitive volleyball team. I remember centre court gold-medal matches where the sounds from the crowd would fade to nothing and the next movement of the ball was all that matered. Some people call it flow. Lots of athletes call it being in the zone. Yoga has a word for it too – Dhrana, or intense focus, when your concentration moves to a singular, laser sharp point of focus.
As I moved around and traveled after high-school, team sports became a challenge and I began to run more often, as an activity rather than cardio training for sports. But after competing in 5km races I turned to hot yoga as a recovery tool for a running injury.
Yoga helped my body find balance – adding strength where I needed it and flexibility to other areas. But unlike other athletic activities, yoga is unique in attaching movement to the breath. I think this allows mental focus to turn inwards and helps clear the mind, as you connect with lift of the inhale and the softness and melt of the exhale. I found my flow again on my mat. My yoga practice is a place where noise softens, busy-ness fades away and I have space. Just my body moving and my mind clear and calm.
A little bit of yoga goes a long way and it’s completely portable. I can do 5 or 25 minutes of yoga in the woods, on the beach, in my hotel room, and at the office – and now I can take my flow with me wherever I go.