The Path to Self-Enlightenment Through...Groupon?

by Meghan Hewitt

Disclaimer: I am NOT fit, so you probably shouldn’t take this post as a fitness guide.

Have you ever tried yoga? I haven’t. To me, a workout needed to leave you physically exhausted so that you had to lie at the bottom of the stairs for a good while because your legs hurt so bad (please see above disclaimer). But yoga is everywhere now. My business partner loves hot yoga (to me that sounds terrible, as I get very cranky in temperatures above 85 degrees, but to each their own). Recently, I stumbled upon a Groupon for a year’s worth of online yoga courses for 20 bucks. I decided to give it try, if I hated it, I was only out twenty bucks and now I had a legit reason to wear yoga pants. I was still skeptical, how was this “granola” exercise going to help me?  So, I get online, select a beginner’s course and get ready to get Zen. I had my notion that I was going to have this very serious, holier than thou instructor, but she seemed like a real person and I’m thinking “Okay, I can get behind this” and then what she discussed hit on one of our missions at Cincinnati Renewed Wellness.

She was teaching various foundation poses and she says, “You know, a lot of my students say they are taking yoga to learn balance, implying that they want stasis, but I have to tell you, that’s not what balance is at all” ……I think I shouted at the computer “PREACH”. She continues, “Balance requires a lot of moving parts and the ability to manage those moving parts”.  At that point I think I fell over doing tree pose.

Isn’t that the image that most people get of a Yogi, someone sitting, cross-legged, at peace, in balance. While those of us who are struggling with the daily hustle and bustle are stressed out with juggling a bunch of different things. But balance is juggling. Weights and counter weights. Prioritizing. Knowing your limits and slowly expanding your limits, becoming stronger.  And most importantly, knowing that in practice, you may fail (that’s why it’s called a practice) and when you fail, you regroup and come back to it. For me, in starting Cincinnati Renewed Wellness, it was to help people juggle life. We are expected to have it all figured out and all put together and those that don’t feel “put together” get even more stressed and tailspin. The people that appear good at “adulting” are those that have practiced and fine-tuned their balancing skills. We can’t be static, we always need to change and grow, that’s what balance is.

I was skeptical about yoga, but I think I am going to incorporate it into my fitness regime, despite that internet personality Matt Bellassai calls yoga “fancy stretching”. It’s a low impact exercise that will stretch you out and help you fine tune your coordination. And, if you find the right instructor it’s like a therapy session combined with meditation. It’s a combination of mental and physical exercise that you might not get from squatting until you fall over. We are taught in nursing that exercise is first line treatment for those with anxiety, depression and chronic pain. Chemicals released by the body during exercise will improve your mood.  Bottom line though, find something you like and do it!  

Allison McLaughlin