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.