How I Relax! [Magazine Article]


Eddie Stephens, attorney and yogi
Eddie Stephens, attorney and yogi


How I relax …. by Eddie Stephens

Family law attorneys are under constant stress at work.  When personal lives become stressful as well, it can create a perfect storm of way too much stress in a person.  Several years ago I found myself in one of those places.  During that period of time, I found my way to yoga.

Twenty years ago, only a few people knew what “namaste” meant (while roughly equivalent to a respectful greeting or departure, when accompanied by hands pressed together in front of the heart, the gesture also means that we respect each other’s heart and soul – maybe we should start saying Namaste to each other before hearings, respectfully). 

Yoga was for girls or hippies.  Now it is so prevalent that it has become a part of the national consciousness.  Yoga has even hit the legal arena, as certain poses (“asanas”) in a certain order are trademarked (see Bikram Yoga) or certain ways of setting up the mats become trademarked.  New York is a legal hotbed of yoga, both as students sue teachers for injuries sustained in classes and NYC decides how to collect money from yoga studios.  Was I aware of yoga?  Absolutely.  However, I was definitely one of those people who thought that yoga was complicated, taught in a foreign language, and only for the flexible, which did not include me.

The first class I was referred to was called a “restorative” class.  It was an exceptionally slow moving class, and I didn’t need to know any yoga to participate.  I learned to breathe into my belly to reduce stress.  I learned to relax completely and trust my teacher.  I found my mind cleared to the extent that during class, I would suddenly have thoughts that provided new perspective and clarity.

I moved into slightly more difficult classes, but have never had the time to devote to yoga to really become accomplished.  After shoulder surgery in June, 2013 I couldn’t practice for months.  As I made my way back to gentle yoga classes I realized just how much stronger yoga had made me.  Physically, I am nowhere near where I was pre-surgery, but I have faith that I will get back there.

Yoga is the only form of exercise that I have ever really enjoyed.  I don’t feel like I am exercising.  I don’t feel like I am doing anything to reduce my stress.  It just happens as a natural side effect of practicing yoga.   The mental and physical focus has helped me in more than one area of my life.

And I can touch my toes.

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