It’s no secret that I’m slightly obsessed yoga. I’ve blogged about it here & here, Instagrammed practicing it a dozen times and dragged the majority of my friends to a class with me. It’s my favorite form of exercise by far–the breathing, the Vinyasa, the inner peace. I love all of it. Best part? Some of the things that I’ve learned on the mat have helped me in life too.
Usually when you go to a yoga class, one of the first things you do is get grounded in the space. A teacher once had us notice where our hands and feet are. Feel the floor with your feet. Feel your hands on your lap. Once you ground down, you can feel light & lifted in the practice and in life. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed–at work, during an argument, whenever–I just notice where my hands and feet are. Helps me be a little more present.
Find your edge
I fall a lot in yoga. I fall like all the time. Sometimes I fall flat on my face or end up with bruises on the back of my arms. But that’s the best part! You never know what you can do until you take a chance. Try a pose that you thought was impossible. The best moments of yoga are when you push yourself riiiight to the edge, and then end up falling. So what if you fall? At least you tried. And maybe you’ll surprise yourself.
“Drop what you need to”
My mind is my worst enemy in yoga. Usually when I’m going into a balance (like crow pose) or an inversion (headstand, always), my mind starts racing with all sorts of doubt. So I do what one of my favorite teachers says: drop it. Drop the doubt. Drop the fear. Don’t think and just do. As a perfectionist and over-thinker, sometimes I just need to drop all that doubt because it usually works out just fine.
Everything is temporary
“Everything is temporary, in the practice and in life.” That pain you’re feeling in your legs in Warrior Two? Temporary. The pure elation you feel when you balance perfectly in Half Moon? Also temporary. Fight through the bad, soak up the good, because everything eventually passes.
Balance strength & softness
This is probably one of the hardest things for me to do when I practice. You have to focus on every muscle in your body and engage it, while remaining soft and calm. In real life, it’s important to be strong: stand up for yourself & don’t accept anything less than you deserve. But it’s also important to be kind, calm & caring. It’s a balance.
Every time I step on my mat, I thank myself. Sometimes getting on my mat is the hardest part, so I thank myself for dedicating an hour for myself, physically and mentally. I think it’s a good lesson to be thankful. For the small things, for the big things. Gratitude usually equates happiness, so say I try to say thank you often.
In the summer, I go to yoga classes on the beach. At some point, the teacher always says, “take an extra breath just because you can.” She’s right. We’re alive, so let’s breathe it all in, always.
Namaste, yogis. &.