I recently renovated my teenage daughter’s bedroom; new flooring, painted walls, and décor. Let me reiterate this is the bedroom of my daughter, who is a teenager, and dislikes everything I like.
Let’s just say there was potential for stress in this scenario.
Add a bit of teen drama to my general lack of flooring know-how and subsequent lack of confidence, and we were faced with real potential for a meltdown here.
My daughter would most likely have a meltdown as well.
I am happy to report that after four days, three trips to the home improvement store, and no more than a mini meltdown (or two), the room is complete. And we both love it. While taking pictures of the new room, I realized that I have yoga to thank for keeping me sane in these situations.
How does yoga help remodel a bedroom?
Yoga is a mind, body, and spirit connection practice. The proven list of yoga’s physical benefits are numerous: lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, increase bone density, increase cardiovascular health, improved lung capacity, and improved cognitive function – just to name a few.
The mental benefits of a yoga practice are just as applicable to our everyday life, if not more so.
Being mindful means focusing on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting the feelings and thoughts surrounding the moment.
No, I don’t have a lot of skill in home repairs and, yes, this scares me, but I am here pulling up carpet and it is going to be okay. I need only focus on this one task in front of me right now. When it is time to move on, I will again stay mindful and focused solely on the task in front of me.
When I was having trouble getting the laminate flooring to connect properly, I felt myself getting very agitated and anxious. I worried I really wasn’t capable of this project. Instead of sitting in the middle of the room and crying, I got up and took a break. When I returned, I calmly sat on the floor. I held the boards. I studied the boards. I felt the grooves and visualized how they should match. By staying calm and mindful, I was able to keep my mind clear enough to analyze the problem and attempt a solution.
My hands can lay flat on the floor in a forward fold and my right hip will finally release in pigeon pose. The flexibility of my physical body not only makes me feel better, but it also allows me to move through my daily life with ease and less risk of injury.
This helps me to be much more flexible in life as well. When things don’t go exactly as I would like – such as being sold damaged laminate flooring which is therefore not usable – I am able to easily transition to an alternate plan. Instead of getting so bent out of shape that I stop everything and fail to move forward, I acknowledge feeling discouraged about paying for a damaged product. This path didn’t work so I will find an alternate method.
This attitude shift allows me to go with the flow, reducing my stress level and allowing me to enjoy the remodel project. The happier I am, the stronger my immune system, the better quality of my sleep, and the better overall state of my general health as well.
Just as I shouldn’t force my body in to a pose it’s not ready for, I also couldn’t force those flooring connections together. Being flexible means knowing when to let go and move on.
The physical flexibility I gain in yoga also helps me in my everyday list of projects: squatting to paint trim, having the balance to stand and reach on a ladder, and utilizing my upper body strength to carry heavy tools.
My body is used to a moving physical practice, therefore my body can physically adapt to whatever movement I require.
Progress, not perfection
In yoga, there is no perfect pose. It’s always a progressive path toward achieving perfect for our individual body. No one comes to yoga already an advanced yogi. We all started as beginners and have progressively worked our way through the asanas.
I am new to home improvement projects and shouldn’t expect to already have the skill base for each project I undertake. I needed a yoga teacher to show me how to safely get into headstand; why shouldn’t I also need a teacher to show me how to rewire a ceiling fan? I certainly shouldn’t expect the seemingly perfect finishes I see in DIY television shows.
Although I’ve been told to ‘measure twice and cut once,’ I apparently needed to learn that lesson for myself. A couple times. I also needed practice sawing a straight line and hammering nails in straight. The first few pieces of trim in my daughter’s room don’t quite fit together as well as the last pieces of trim. Rather than focus on my mistakes, yoga has taught me to instead proudly point to my advances.
There is a reason yoga classes begin by focusing on the breath. The breath begins the movement and the body follows. Breathing consciously has a biological effect on your mental, emotional, and physical state.
If you breathe shallow and quick, your heart rate will increase, and the sympathetic nervous system will be activated. This will trigger the fight or flight response in your body causing muscles to tense. Conversely, deep slow breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system. The mind quiets, muscles release, and relaxation endorphins flow through the body.
When faced with a difficult or stressful situation off the mat, it helps to breathe deeply before taking action. When the nail gun jammed up and wouldn’t work, I could feel my breath become forced and shallow. The tension in my body soon followed, and my brain raced through a few expletives. I put the nail gun down. By controlling my breath, I could quiet my mind enough to figure out the problem.
Taking a moment to calm your breath, on and off the mat, allows for greater focus and improved mental and emotional health.
Know when to rest
In yoga, child’s pose offers a break from the vinyasas when needed. Every class ends in savasana, a time to lay quietly and allow the body to relax and restore.
I have a bad habit of working long into the night to get a project finished. It’s normal to find me painting at midnight. Although my mind is telling me to stay up and just do one more thing, I know my body will be better equipped to handle the physical and mental demands of this job once it has had time to recover and replenish.
Yoga is much more than poses. It has taught me to be in tune to my body and its needs. I recognize when I need proper nourishment, when I am moving in a way that could potentially cause injury, and when my body needs to stop and rest.
Yoga has taught me how to have a more peaceful life.
And, my daughter’s bedroom looks great!