I’ve done some random yoga classes here and there and loved them. About 6 months ago I committed to going once or twice a week to the classes offered at my gym. This has been part of putting myself on my list of priorities as well as integrating self care routines into my life. Stress management at that time was also a necessity for me. I pretty much was on the stress-can-and-will-kill-you fast track and was grasping at straws to manage my life and my stress levels. Of course, there are many other things I have done to manage stress as I believe we need to approach our lives with a balance of emotional, physical and spiritual insights. Today I want to share with you what I learned in yoga class. You know….on the mat, with my ass in the air in a downward facing dog or holding a half pigeon in all of it’s yummy-ligament-stretching-pain hoping not to fart out loud as I find my true Zen.
- Yoga has taught me about meditative motion, about connecting breath to movement, about not holding my breath or reacting to pain or discomfort, about finding relaxation in the presence of pain and discomfort, about moving fluidly and about moving forward. My natural reaction to a pose that feels painful or uncomfortable is to clench my jaw, hold my breath and transfer the tension to my shoulders. However, what is best is to learn to relax in these areas in the presence of pain and discomfort, which is so true in life, too. When your circumstances take you beyond your comfort level, it is possible to experience peace and relaxation within and without reacting and carrying the tension.
- Yoga has taught me to listen to my body, to FEEL what is going on inside my body as well as my head, to pay attention with awareness, to listen to the still small voice of Life within and, most of all, to trust all that is within me for direction in life.
- Yoga has taught me about failing and failing with grace. There is nothing like being a newbie in a class and clumsily falling out of a pose….and then making several attempts to get back into the pose without feeling completely ungraceful. But no judgment, right? My yoga instructor always assures us that falling out of a pose is a good thing and means we have pushed past our edge. That’s how I want to live my life, pushing past the edges that I arrive at, pushing for more and never settling for mediocracy.
- Yoga practice includes possess that look and feel completely impossible at first. When I first started yoga practice, I could not for the life of me do a half shoulder stand. I felt mushy in my core. I felt weak. I felt like giving up. However, I determined to master this pose and kept trying until I did build enough strength to gracefully get into this pose. We won’t talk just yet about how I mostly fall out of the pose in a loud thud on the floor. In life, the dreams we have, the things we want to accomplish, the life we want for ourselves….they will never happen unless we persevere and keep trying no matter how we fall out of it nor how often we fall out of it.
- Yoga has taught me about patience, first of all, for myself and, then, patience for others. It is a practice that requires patience and intent without rushing. It requires having patience for oneself on the days that your body doesn’t feel as strong as it did yesterday. It requires patience in your head and your heart….patience for failure, patience for others.
- Yoga practice requires proper alignment for the best circulation of blood and fluids in the body. Improper alignment blocks health, life and force in our bodies. In the same way, our lives are best lived in alignment to our truth for experiencing maximum life and health.
- Yoga has taught me about breathing life and force into particular areas of my body. There are certain poses that enable breathing into your spine or your hips, etc for healing and for releasing tension. What you focus on in yoga and in life, will experience healing and success.
- Yoga poses cannot be forced upon a body. If your body is not ready for a certain pose, it will resist it. As you persevere and strengthen your body, you will eventually be able to move into these poses. In life, 0ur feelings and circumstances cannot be forced. If you don’t like chocolate ice cream, there is no sense in forcing yourself to eat it.
- Yoga practice will be most successful when you listen to your body and know when to push through a discomfort and when to back off. Beginning my yoga practice, I was quite eager to go all out for every pose in an attempt to achieve the most difficult degree. Yogis are not more advanced because they can do more challenging poses. They are more advanced because they have the awareness and wisdom to know when to back off. As women, we CAN juggle a million and ten things at once….marriage, a career, family, volunteering, etc, but that doesn’t mean that we should be multitasking that much. Take on only what you can manage with grace and joy.
Life is all about greater self-discovery and self-growth. I once heard that if you want to experience greater self-discovery and greater self-growth, you should build and grow a business. This has been my experience, and taking up yoga has not only taught me much about how to live life, but also that those same principles can be applied to building and growing a business.