When I lived in New York, yoga was part of my fitness routine that I did once a week. With my membership at the New York Sports Club, I also did boxing once a week and lifted weights twice a week- one day for chest and arms, the other for abs and back. After a few weeks of suffering from a cold, I decided to cut out the “rigorous” lifting and boxing to let my body rest and recuperate. Not able to break my gym habit, I kept going several times a week and just did yoga (I later learned that the persistent cold was actually a sinus infection).
After a week of frequent yoga, at one moment, I noticed something was different. A stressful thought came up, heart speeding up, pressure welling up in my chest. And I breathed. The rush of anxiety passed through me. I calmed down. I felt a tinge of distance and perspective- a moment of choice. It reminded me of the feeling of holding an asana, feeling the desire to flee or give up and just holding it and breathing. My mind was trained to have a better automatic response to stress. It felt lovely.