Thursday, November 3, 2011

I do yoga, but I'm NOT CRAZY...

Why is it that the second you say to some people that you do yoga, or that you meditate you see that look come over their faces. You know the one I mean... the "mmmmnnn, ohhhhhh I see, so you're a little odd, or a hippie, and have lost your mind" kind of look. Why is that?

I don't want to be "Crazy Aunt Traci" because I practice yoga. I don't want to feel like others see me as "unstable" because I meditate. I am practical. I am intelligent, and my feet are planted firmly on the ground. I also happen to practice yoga and meditation. That doesn't mean I'm odd or flaky or that you can't take me seriously.

I saw that look on my Father's face the other day when I was talking about my blog. Okay, I get that. We're from a different generation. My father is a manly man's man who would never be caught dead eating quiche, much less taking a yoga class. I understand.

Yoga was a divided topic in the 70's when I was a little girl. Practitioners of yoga were definitely considered hippies in those days. I remember the words from that song... if you're not into yoga, if you have half a brain." People who did yoga were clearly considered a little odd by mainstream America back then... and if you meditated? Forget it. You were a wackadoo.

But today, we know so much more! The Mayo Clinic tells us that yoga can help "improve sleep, reduce stress, increase flexibility, improve balance, increase range of motion, help with back pain, alleviate pregnancy symptoms, improve carpal tunnel, decrease the risk of preterm labor...shall I go on? They also say yoga might help with a variety of health conditions, such as cancer, depression, pain, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue and moodiness. Yoga also can help reduce heart rate and blood pressure"  it goes on and on.

How about meditation? Harvard Medical School's website tells us that mediation "helps many physical and psychological problems—like high blood pressure, chronic pain, psoriasis, sleep trouble, anxiety, and depression"... it too goes on and on ad nauseam.

My oldest and one of my dearest friends is a Psychiatrist. We have been friends since Kindergarten. I have purposely NOT mentioned my blog about yoga and meditation to her, because I know, without a doubt, that she will turn up her nose at it like it's Voodoo. It doesn't matter what the studies say. She doesn't believe in "that stuff". And she went to Medical School!

WHY? WHY? WHY? I truly don't understand. The facts are there. The studies have proven results. It's time to start embracing these things as a part of our culture. Perhaps it's the stigma attached to yoga and meditation that keep some people away from it. People that could really benefit from it. Shame on us. There's no excuse. It's like saying you don't believe in air because you can't see it. It's time to get rid of the eye rolls and whispers about those who practice yoga and meditation.

Pass this article on to one of your closest non-yogi/non-meditation friends. Remind them that you should be celebrated in your decision to take your physical and mental health in your own hands. Tell them it's time to open their mind and get their own butt on a yoga mat. We promise not to judge them too harshly. Namaste.

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