I remember the moment she said it, where we were and how it had to change my life. Seriously.
My friend Carole lives her life with passion. I mean: PASSION. She is an all-the-way kind of woman. Nothing half done she dives into friendship, social media and every aspect of her life head-first and fully committed. She’s the inspiring kind of friend that every woman needs to have. The fabulous female friend who makes you a better person just by knowing her.
We were having coffee when the conversation changed to ‘balance’ in our lives. (Something my friend Cath said is really just a myth that women can live a balanced life!) I shared how I had no balance in my life – I work too much, don’t spend enough time with my friends (and heck, I love time with my friends!). I wasn’t working out so was feeling very unhealthy, my house was a mess, as well as, in my opinion, my life. (Insert awww, poor Debba here!)
Her immediate response – ‘Do yoga!’ Cue the life change.
I took this girlfriend advice and the next day joined a gym with regular yoga and pilates classes. (Pilates is somewhat similar to yoga in that you’re on a mat and not doing aerobic exercise but relying on your body to generally provide weight resistance.) I even started taking a few hot yoga classes (a strange, sweaty practice of yoga in a 100 degree room with people in the smallest amount of clothing possible!!) – thanks to my friend Carla alerting me to a new hot yoga studio nearby.
Yoga is a mental, physical, even somewhat spiritual practice of kind of stretching, moving and calming your mind in a meditative state. Yogi instructors prompt you to release your thoughts and quiet your mind, to focus on your body and to draw your focus inward. And, at the end of your yoga practice (after a period of ‘savanasa’ – aka: breathing and just lying on the floor!) the yogi instructor often leads you in a final thought – including being thankful for the others around you … a nice way to leave this meditative state and return to the real world.
Personally, this practice has been difficult – the quieting my mind aspect especially, but the effort and commitment I’ve made over the past three month has brought me some of the elusive balance for which I seek - at least in one area of my crazy life. I feel a little stronger and even a little taller. I get joy from stretching and pushing my body to do things it doesn’t naturally do – like balance on one foot while contorting the rest of my body! I feel a little more in control of my schedule because I plan my life around my classes. That little bit of ‘me time,’ makes me more conscious of my calendar and the other areas in my life that manage me, more than me managing them.
Yoga may not be for you. Maybe you need to allocate time to other things you enjoy – like reading, walking or that wonderful practice of spending time with your friends. But you may need, like I did, to take some girlfriend advice and find some balance in your life. Not sure how to do that? Go out for coffee with a girlfriend (who seems to have some balance in her life) and ask her for advice. Then take it. Do it. Stretch yourself – physically, mentally, creatively – however you need to change your life to find some balance.
Thanks Carole. Thanks for the difference you’ve made in my life and in helping me find some balance. And, of course, thanks for the awesome gift of your friends!
Do you need to find balance in your life? What girlfriend are you going to enlist in helping you find it? Go for it girlfriend!
p.s. Another benefit of yoga, I’m getting fit to be seen in a bathing suit (OMG!) on our 2011 Girlfriend Cruise! JOIN US!
photo credit: Shutterstock