My yoga journey began in 1995 when I was 23 (you can do the math to figure out my current age if you like). Not only am I am different person than I was then but I have learned many life lessons along the way. Here are just a few that I have learned from my yoga practice:
💜 My body is the only one I need to worry about.
There is no point in comparing my abilities to others, as my strengths and weakness are unique to me and for me to build my practice around. We are taught to be competitive from a very early age, and there is some value in competition when it comes to progress and achieving “success” in life. However, yoga is a non-competitive practice. Competition moves your mind into the future, which is where anxiety lives. Yoga teaches us to be present, which is the home of peace and calm. Noticing what is happening right now, rather than planning or strategizing for what may or may not ever happen, can help you find a centered and grounded home in your body and mind. When we compare ourselves to another person, we often focus on everything about them that is “good” and everything about us that is “bad.” Not only does this feel bad, but it is not a mindset that will help us improve or move forward (whatever that may mean to you), as it only brings feelings of shame. Nothing productive has ever come out of a place of shame without a lot of unnecessary pain. When you can keep your eyes on your own mat and stay with your body, you have begun a yoga journey with yourself.
💜 We are all on different steps of the same path. Meet yourself where you are.
Related to the lesson above, comparing yourself to someone who has practiced longer than you, who is younger, who is more flexible, who is stronger isn’t useful for your yoga practice. Be you on the mat. Do what feels right for you. If you need to rest, then rest. If you want to go deeper, go deeper. If you need to modify a pose, modify a pose. You only have one body, you need to treat it with kindness. When you meet yourself where you are, you allow your own journey to unfold. You allow yourself the space to grow without judgment, and the space to be you. You are enough just as you are, just be you.
💜 Speak to yourself as if you were speaking to someone you loved. You are the only one listening, you might as well be kind.
We all have self-talk, we are talking to ourselves all day long. What kind of tone do you take with yourself? Are you loving? Are you kind? Or are you critical, judgemental, and mean? Would you talk to anyone else the way you talk to yourself? The answer is usually no, because that’s horrible. If it is so horrible, why do you speak to yourself that way? Be kind. You are listening.
💜 Listen to your body.
The ego will tell you all sorts of things and 99.9% of the time it’s wrong. The ego tells you things based on beliefs that you developed in your childhood to survive. Even people with “idyllic” childhoods don’t come away fully unscathed. You create beliefs that you hold as truths and many times those beliefs are anything but true. Your body doesn’t lie to you. Your body will tell you when to back off and when to stay. It gives sometimes subtle and sometimes very clear signals to tell you that what you are doing is okay/not okay. When you learn the language of the body, you will understand what you need at any moment. You just need to learn to understand its language and listen. There are different types of sensations that mean different things. Understanding their significance helps you navigate when certain activities are helpful or harmful.
💜 Notice your breath and use it to guide your actions.
Related to listening to your body, if you notice your breath, you can adjust to what you need. If your breath is short and erratic, you are stressed and need to pause to regain your center. If you can breathe deeply and slowly, you are safe and can keep doing what you are doing. Breathing can guide you on the mat and in the world, if you can slow down to notice.
To practice yoga with me online or on demand, go to www.purpleroomyoga.com/classes to see my full schedule.
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