The Voices of Lifestyles After 50: “Share Your Story” winner Jaime Nicole Graham’s essay on Mind Over Matter

 

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A YOGA TO LIVE BY

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by Jaime Nicole Graham

A mom of three and an aquarian with great zeal for all aspects of life, I can come off a bit scattered at times. Then, a few years ago I was drawn to a yoga teacher training at a beautiful studio on the Emerald Coast. Straight away I began preparing, dedicating my early mornings to the practice of contemplation, physical asana, breath work, and meditation. I’ve continued this practice for over three years, working closely with two local monks who lovingly offer their gentle guidance at an Ashram nestled between a Chili’s and Dunkin’ Doughnuts.

I’ve often contemplated the differences that have revealed themselves in my life since beginning my practice and at times even longed for more visible improvements. What is clearly verifiable (and admittedly a bit embarrassing) is that I have not lost my phone or wallet in over three years. I’ve had no speeding tickets nor car accidents since delving into the study of yoga. I no longer require biweekly chiropractic appointments and hardly get migraines anymore either. I recover from life’s bumps much more quickly and can identify the lessons embedded in the struggle more readily now.

I am able to calm my breath, body and mind in times of stress rendering me able to teach these skills to my children, friend, family members, and clients from an authentic place. Possibly most importantly, I now exude a sense of unshakable self confidence that I hadn’t possessed prior to dedicating my time to this practice.This personal evolution has been remarkable and most recently came to a pivotal moment when I was faced with the dilemma of having to take a state licensing exam with little time to study. Having been licensed to practice counseling for children and adults in Colorado for over a decade I hadn’t believed I would be required to retest yet Florida’s rules are quite stringent in my area of practice. I had little more than two weeks to study for an exam while working full-time on an Air Force base, in the process of selling our home and caring for our three children while my husband is getting his doctorate. I had scarcely been able to spend more than an hour preparing in the two weeks prior to the test. The morning of the test I woke up around 4 a.m. as usual. Rather than study I performed my routine and prior to meditation I asked my higher self to draw on all the knowledge that had ever been imparted to me and was accessible.

I envisioned myself passing the exam and obtaining licensure with ease. When I got to the exam I wrote “You Passed” on the pad next to the computer station and I proceeded to take the test without stress or nervousness. At one point during the test I noticed how fun it actually was. When I was finished I obtained my printout and I had indeed passed the exam that “3 out of 10 professionals failed.” I believe the study of yoga and the mindfulness practices that I employ daily were hugely responsible for this achievement and many others. Most importantly, embracing yoga as a way of life continues to improve my outlook and my overall existence in ways I never imagined, making me happier, more confident and more able to retain my peace of mind.

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