On Yoga and Metanoia

By Louanna Doll

I began my metanoia, the journey of changing one’s mind, heart, self or way of life, about 4 years ago after stepping into my first yoga class. I was hesitant to go at first because I needed a workout class that would really change my body. Little did I know, that yoga class would lead me to change my mind and soul as well.

I discovered a workout that really worked out every part of my body. However, I began to reflect on how it made me feel during and afterwards. As an individual who suffers from anxiety, I noticed that while I was on my mat, I was no longer stressed. For that hour, I thought about nothing and I living in the present moment. Afterwards, I felt more open, relaxed and energized. Needless to say, I continued going back to yoga and now my practice has been incorporated into my life.  

Over the years, I explored different studios, attempting to find the one that would bring me deeper into my practice. I was getting the physical workout but I wanted to grow more with my meditation practice. I finally found this studio that expresses similar holistic values to my own. Recently, I completed a 6-week Yoga Empowerment class at my studio. During the duration of the program, we explored our yoga practice, meditation, diet, and became more mindful to how we contribute to the world around us through our thoughts and actions. Every week the group would meet to discuss what happened to us during the past week. Multiple times I would leave crying tears of gratitude; for the people that I have in my life, that I wake up every morning with basic necessities, and that I am capable of changing the world. This program became very therapeutic for me. Not only was exploring myself more, but I was connecting with other people who are trying to better themselves and share similar ideas and morals. After those 6 weeks, I was no longer a member at a yoga studio, I became a member of a community.

I do not just live out my yoga practice at the studio, I attempt to incorporate it in all the areas of my life. Currently, I am working towards my masters in social work, due to me wanting to help others especially those suffering from mental illnesses.  My experiences with yoga and meditation have helped me work through my anxiety, now it’s my turn to do the same for others. My goal is to become a clinical therapist and incorporate mindfulness, yoga, and meditation in my interventions. Through mindfulness interventions, one can explore their emotions, control their behaviors, identify stress and understand how it relates to the body. The mind body connection is so powerful, having a clear understanding of how the two are interrelated can bring internal peace and happiness.

My journey has only just begun. I have still have a lot to learn about myself and will continue to strive towards being able to help other people while utilizing my passions. Yoga has allowed me to create space, explore my mind and open my heart. I look forward to finding out where my metanoia takes me and encourage you to start your own.  

Follow my journey via Instagram @littlelotuslou


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