“Why yoga” you ask? How about we ask “what has yoga brought to my life?” Sure I have gained physical strength and flexibility (and a great butt – just sayin). But its so much more than that, yoga has brought me the lessons of self-awareness and self-acceptance.
For instance, sometimes you just can’t get the pose. It doesn’t mean you will never get it. You just have to reflect on what you feel that day and do what your body needs. I’ve learned to listen to my body without judgement and do whatever I feel that I need that day. Sometimes that means I need to push myself and dig deep, other days it means just dropping my brain and going through the motions, accepting my body for what it needs, not what I think it needs.
Ever wake up and crave chocolate for breakfast? I do. Sometimes, I have chocolate for breakfast. Want to know why? Because I listen to my body. I have found that with yoga, you become more accepting that you are not going to be perfect every day. There are days when you just have to let go and be.
I have also learned how to let go and just try. Yoga can also be about taking a leap and trusting your body. I love falling out of a pose, it reminds me that I took that leap. I fell and it was ok, at least I tried! This often gives me an opportunity to reflect on what I did and how I can approach the pose differently next time.
I started bring this mindset into the real world and all of the sudden, big tasks didn’t feel as overwhelming. The mentality that sometimes you just have to go for it and see what happens is liberating. This mentality has made it easier to take the plunge on big projects I’ve been wanting to start for years (ahem this blog).
Yoga is a practice and it’s never ending. There are no yoga championships or olympics, no medals to achieve. Just constantly practicing for change, for strength, for you. I think this is what I love the most about yoga.
The life lessons I’ve learned on my mat are unbelievable. I owe a lot to yoga, self discovery on the mat has changed the person I am now. Those discoveries were led by inspiring teachers, who bring powerful messages to class and ask you to have no judgment of yourself, just to reflect on the message. This is why I like going to yoga. You never know what message you might just need to hear to change your attitude. There is nothing like some good self reflection in Warrior 2.
Yoga is also about community. It’s about breathing for your neighbor when things get tough. Maybe it’s just me, but you can often feel the energy in the yoga room when everyone is giving it their all. I think that energy is what brings people together. The yoga community is amazing, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
Having this community around you gives you the strength to try new things. To keep pushing yourself. So, if you are new and afraid of falling, looking stupid, etc. and that is keeping you from yoga – get your butt in class now. Everyone started new at some point. We all get it! I have been going to yoga for 3 years now and I’m constantly amazed at what others can do. I don’t let this discourage me. Instead I continue my practice, hoping to one day master that pose as well. I’ve fallen out of headstand into people (luckily not onto people) a number of times. I’ve had my tush in so many people’s faces its probably illegal. But I’ve had all these things happen to me as well, so it’s all good 🙂 It’s yoga, you check your ego at the door!
While we are talking about ego, lets talk about how humbling it is to practice yoga. I lift weights, heavy weights, almost every day. Weight lifting doesn’t hold a candle to a good yoga class. The mental games you play with yourself at yoga are comical sometimes (at least the ones I play)! The more yoga you do, the easier it is (since you aren’t always fighting to loosen up), but even when I was practicing yoga regularly, it was still hard. It’s hard because it’s a practice, there is always somewhere new to go. As one muscle loosens up, you get the opportunity to focus on another. There is always a new pose to conquer or a way to improve.
What About You?
- Do you practice yoga?
- What has it helped you with?
- Ever fall into someone?