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Fitness Simplified

woman doing cobra pose in yoga class

What if there were a single way to get both your body and thoughts into the best shape ever, and it required absolutely no equipment or financial expenditure? What if, moreover, this activity felt great, filled you with joy, and healed you on all levels as you did it?

I write this not only from the perspective of a yoga teacher and longtime practitioner, but as someone who was instantly stripped of her belongings for over a week and stuck in a place away from home after the terrible tragedy at the Ft Lauderdale airport a couple of weeks ago. I may be blogging about this for weeks as I try to process what my family went through, reflecting on the positive lessons to come out of an otherwise terrible situation.

Stuck in a hotel room with no suitcases or wallet, waiting seemingly endlessly for news of my belongings, and forced to sit with my thoughts about what my family and I just endured, there was nothing left to do BUT turn to my yoga practice. My body was sore from running and ducking, and my mind was darting to and fro trying to figure out how to comprehend the events, resolve the current situation and help my children move forward. I was literally going stir crazy when I realized that my yoga practice was the only thing I had not left behind.

The combination of breath work, hip openers, heart-expanding poses, forward folds for introspection, and simple seated meditation moved me through the days we spent waiting in our hotel room. Some of my favorite poses during this time were Balasana (child's pose), Matsyasana (fish pose), Halasana (plow pose), Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend), Supta Baddha Konasana (reclined bound angle pose), and Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (pigeon pose). I was deeply grateful for Laura Haehl's previous week’s post on breath work as well.

My yoga practice during those days helped me on so many levels. It helped to calm the pace of my thoughts, brought insight, and gave me a sense of faith and patience. It also physically lengthened my tight, overworked muscles, opened my body and allowed me to release some of the emotion from the days before.

If you've followed me from the beginning, you know one of my great aims in life is to simplify. Yoga represents the ultimate in streamlining, as I discovered somewhat accidentally. It was so liberating and empowering to realize that this tool for total wellbeing is always at my disposal and requires nothing but a spirit of willingness and openness. Here's to rich simplicity!


Lisa Berry

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