Happy September, also known as National Yoga Awareness Month!

When I look at how I manage the everyday juggle and grind, there is one thing that keeps me most grounded through it all. There is one thing, that no matter how stressed I am, or how frazzled I may be, that literally transforms my entire aura.

That’s yoga.

Almost years ago, I was close to burning out. Literally. I don’t think anyone knew just how close I was. I owned a successful company, sales growing by the quarter. I was named one of the Top 30 Under 30 Entrepreneurs. Top 40 Under 40 Nominee. I graced the cover of multiple business sections in newspapers. I was named a Profit Hot 50 CompanyOne of Canada’s 50 Emerging Growth Companies– I was the only female CEO on the list. And more. I was newly married. I had no kids.

But the more my company grew, the more felt like I was burning out. I wasn’t sleeping at night, and my mind was consumed by the business 24/7.  I started to see a therapist who told me to create a “Worry List” on my nightstand. The Worry List worked as follows: When my thoughts kept me up at night, the idea was to transfer them from my head, onto paper, to worry about them at another time (not during my sacred time, when I deserved to sleep).

She also told me to try something else. Yoga. And so I did. I  hired a private yoga instructor to come to my house twice a week. Steve looked like Mr. Clean with a bald and shiny head, but when he stepped foot into my house each week, he helped me catch my breath– literally and figuratively. He taught me how to create my sacred space on my mat where the world cut shut off, and I could focus on regrounding myself.  I did prenatal yoga throughout both my pregnancies. Ever since that near burnout, I have never stopped doing yoga. And as you know, I now teach.

So, In honor of National Yoga Awareness Month, I wanted to perhaps turn YOU onto yoga. And give you some tips. Yoga could change your life.

If you think you won’t enjoy it, or that it’s not a workout, or that you can’t relax, or if you think yoga is for weirdos, I want to leave you with 5 reasons… WHY YOGA?

1. Simply put… yoga will make you feel better

And not just right after you finish a class or your own practice. This feeling carries you throughout your day. Scientific studies have shown the benefits of yoga on overall health, over and over again. It literally cleanses your organs, and yes, EVEN HELPS HANGOVERS! Yoga has been studied to help cure depression as well. Susan Orem, a yoga teacher in New York City and the owner of the Heathen Hill yoga retreat in the Catskills, says that a brief 20- to 30-minute yoga sequence that includes sun salutations, along with a few good twists and restorative poses, may bring extreme relief. (New York Times).

2. There are many different yoga practices. Try them, and find a practice that you enjoy

I have linked you to different types and styles of yoga- click here. The yoga practice I did for years is called ashtanga yoga, or power yoga, and the last few years I enjoy a great vinyasa flow and yin yoga experience. I certainly love hot yoga! But there are benefits to all the different types. If you’re interested in incorporating more yoga in your life, head over to our online store to choose something that feels right for you.

3. You don’t have to spend lots of money on yoga to re-balance yourself

You can create your own yoga space. All you need is a good yoga mat, a space to call your own, some water, perhaps a nice smelling candle, and an app or YouTube. All my yoga and mindfulness classes in my HEALTHY AT HOME SERIES can be found by clicking this image. There is even a back to school class for calm!

Click here to view Erica’s yoga and mindfulness online classes

I discovered yoga for stress relief purposes, but there are a ton of ways to consume yoga online, and one great app I enjoy is called Downward Dog.

4. Yoga is truly for EVERYONE- young and old

Beside making you feel better, yoga will build your strength and flexibility, and I’ll say it again… decrease stress! Yoga promotes a balance between the mind, body, and spirit FOR ALL WHO PRACTICE IT REGULARLY. And I will be honest, yoga WILL give you a longer, leaner body, and promote better posture (if you combine it with healthy eating). So even if you do yoga as your ‘workout,’ (another reason I did yoga at the beginning), over time, you will experience all those other benefits as well.

5. It takes time, so give it a chance. It WILL feel weird at the beginning

You’re gonna laugh, you’re gonna feel uncomfortable at the beginning. Maybe even bored. It’s pretty much a guarantee.  You might feel very inflexible and very tight in your muscles and joints. But give it time. It just takes time. Be open.

My yoga mentor Natalie said it best a few years ago,

My personal yoga mood these days is one of rediscovery. I’ve reconnected with some of my past teachers and recommitted to my own learning and practice. 

My message with yoga is this– we know it works, it’s the medicine to remedy the effects of the world we live in, but in order for it to work, we can’t simply talk about how amazing yoga is without personally investing time on the mat. Once a week, five times a week, we have to DO it to benefit from it. It’s like talking about how amazing it is to put money aside in a retirement fund, without actually saving anything. 

For people who don’t do yoga but are curious, find a class and do it. And if you don’t like it, try another teacher, another studio and if you still don’t like it, try again in six months.”

As the Buddha says: “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”

I’d love to hear if yoga has helped you in any way. Feel free to leave any yoga tips for our readers, or any ways yoga has helped you in your life.

Wishing you guys an amazing long labour day weekend next weekend, and maybe some yoga in September? 😉