By Diana Giraldo | Reporter
Attending a meditation session with Anna Moore, a yoga instructor at Fulton Yoga Collective, introduced me to a new field of health and fitness I had not yet explored and has even changed the way I think on a daily basis.
Moore has practiced yoga daily for over 15 years. Throughout that time, she said, the way she practices has developed from standard mat yoga to, her now adopted, minute by minute meditation practice which is to breathe through her nose, stand up tall and straight and be mentally present at every moment.
“Practicing yoga helps us get into touch with ourselves,” Moore said. “Whether you are a painter, a singer, a basketball player, a writer or whatever it is you do, yoga helps us quiet long enough to listen to and recognize our own inner voice.”
During the session Get Fit Clovis had with Moore she focused on variations of Kundalini Yoga, which is the umbrella above many different types of yoga.
“This practice is made for the householder or the professional, someone who has a full-time job, has a mortgage, has children and responsibility – they are busy,” Moore said. “Unlike a monk who has all day to meditate, relax, breath, be centered and peaceful, the householder may only have 5 minutes.”
Many of the Kundalini Yoga exercises are only meant to be practiced for one minute. A person can do five exercises in five minutes for their workout one day and that is enough to be transformative, Moore said.
The reason Moore began looking into this specific yoga practice was because as her parents are maturing they are not in the physical position to do standard yoga. This practice gives the benefits of a cardio workout, clears skin, eyes and the mind and can also be done in a chair.
With the team sitting in a circle, Moore instructed us to sit with our legs crossed. She passed around incense to clear the air and prepare our minds for the session. We placed our hands on our knees, closed our eyes and began to follow Moore’s soothing voice through the instruction of about 10 exercises.
With each exercise I could feel my body begin to release tension and stress. Earlier that day I had spent most of my time sitting and writing, and like most days, I had started to feel my back tighten and a dull pain begin to persist at the small of my back. After a few exercises of deep breathing I felt my back begin to loosen. It was suddenly not so hard to sit up straight and my back pain relieved.
Moore spoke about envisioning ourselves in our best light. What are we doing? Who are we with? Creating an image only we knew in our minds. She spoke about letting go of emotion and turning off the mental voices which might not always be positive. She said to instead stop those bad thoughts and tell ourselves, “I am enough,” “I am great,” “Wow, this day is wonderful.”
“It’s like bringing your head up above the water for five minutes and not hearing the voices in your head anymore,” Moore said. “Once you start practicing breath work or yoga you see how much better you can feel and that there are physical things you can do to feel better like focusing on your breath.”
Instead of giving into anger, sadness or other emotions which can hurt our mental health Moore says to use breathing techniques which can give you clearness of mind and peace.
“Then our life from the moment we wake to the moment we go to sleep is peaceful,” Moore said. “People can yell at us, honk at us and call us names and we can love them and love them and love them some more.”
At the end of the session as all three of us, Caitie Reeg, Miguel Vera and I, opened our eyes and felt our muscles, mind and body completely relaxed. The worries of the day did not bother us for the time we were mediating nor did they after because with a clear mind we were now able to continue to tackle them instead of stress over them.
Vera, who is a certified Applied Behavior Analyst, said the most important thing for people who are new to yoga to remember is they need to enter every class with an opened mind and be prepared to let go and be comfortable.
Since the session I have taught myself to start doing deep breathing exercises between sets at the gym, as I am writing, and in the car. And instead of getting irritated at the light taking too long or things not going as planned I take a moment to revisit what Moore taught during the session and I tell myself, “I love everything about my life – flaws included.”
“Yoga helps you get out of your head and into your body. It really gives you the confidence to be yourself and can give you tools to discover who you are,” Moore said. “That’s what I believe the awakening is or being enlightened, it is simply actually just being in contact with ourselves. It’s as simple as that. We can all be enlightened right now and everyone can do it.”