Do you slip away to yoga class as often as you can when you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed? Chances are you walk out afterward feeling restored and more like yourself…but as the stress begins to accumulate, you start to frantically count the hours until you can make it back to yoga. (Sound familiar?)

The truth is—and not all yoga teachers will tell you this—that feeling of ease and calm doesn’t necessarily require a mat, a dimly lit studio, or even a teacher. I learned this years ago when I had a manager at work who micromanaged, fretted, and all manner of other stress-inducing things. Her nervous energy wove its tentacles into me, gripping my neck and shoulders, imprisoning my breath in my upper chest, and taking up residence in my low back.

I lived for my noon yoga class—one hour when I could leave distractions at the door and slip into inner stillness. I’d walk out that class every day relaxed…until my boss would unleash her panic and I was back where I had started. One day, probably when I couldn’t escape to class, I began to understand that the inner quiet I experienced in yoga class was actually already within me. Always.

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