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I’ve been spending more time on my mat lately.

I’ve embraced a coping mechanism that gives my mind and body exactly what they crave in times of high stress, conflict, confusion, and feelings of overwhelm.

My normal modus operandi was to graze on sweet and salty things for the better part of my life. The sugar fix was a great temporary high, but its short-lived effect left me wanting more and expanded my waistline.

In those moments, my mind, body, and spirit didn’t NEED sugar. What I wanted and needed was to feel safe. I wanted to feel secure. Sugar NEVER did that for me and believe it or not, that’s not Elgin’s job either. My demons were mine to conquer.

It wasn’t until I was in my 40s that I found yoga and began my healing journey. Rocky at first. There were lots of voices that needed to be silenced. But not long after, yoga became my lifeline. I did so much healing on my mat. I let go of years of disappointment and anger in the back of Sharon’s yoga class.

As I’ve grown in my practice, I learned that I was in a constant state of fight or flight for much of my life. That’s hard on your adrenal glands, your heart, and your liver. This perpetual stress was slowly killing me.

I learned that the foods I ate caused painful inflammation so I slowly cleaned up the family diet and those inflammatory episodes have disappeared.

So why more time on my mat?

Because I’m committed to my self-care. It’s critical that I shut my eyes, move through the asanas and breathe. I keep my nervous system in check when I do so. I turn off fight or flight and switch over to rest and digest. This is how I cope. Because if I can breathe through challenging poses on my mat, I can breathe through challenging circumstances off my mat.

This is what my body requires now that I make far more cortisol as a perimenopausal woman. That’s what causes weight gain and the menopausal middle.

No more tortured workouts. No more hurling insults at my body because baby, you should have heard the things I said about me TO ME.

This body has been with me since day one. She’s been there through all the trauma and did her best to keep me alive until I learned how to properly care for myself and for that, I’m extremely grateful.

More yoga. More forest baths. More slow walks under the trees. Because how I choose to cope in my 50s looks way different than how I coped in my 20s.

Here’s to the journey.

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