Five Things Yoga Has Taught Me

9.24.2012

When I entered my yoga studio a few short months ago, I didn't know what to expect. I had heard great things from people who started doing yoga to combat stress, get in shape, and just be more in tune with their bodies, and as great as it all sounded, I wasn't sold. I'm definitely someone who has to figure things out for herself ... so I decided to give it a try.

I've only been practicing yoga for about 6 months now, so I'm still a newbie as far as yogis go, but I've experienced such a great change in my every day life that I had to share. One of the things I like most about yoga is that you really get to spend time with yourself, to figure things out and just be (while getting in a great work out). Though the teachers are there to guide you through, it's not an hour of someone else's thoughts and opinions telling you how you should feel or think so you really get to figure things out for yourself. Over these past few months, yoga has really taught me/I have figured out some important things:


1. Honor your body
Listen to what your body is telling you. If on some days you can't nail a pose, pause and acknowledge it instead of constantly pushing through and injuring yourself. In life, it's okay to not perfectly do things all the time (a.k.a. the hardest phrase to hear as a perfectionist). I can get stuck on things that I don't feel are perfect and think about them for hours (designs, blog posts, etc.), and always end up driving myself crazy. Lately I've been able to acknowledge that some days, it's just not going to happen. And that's okay.

2. Let go of things that no longer serve you
This is definitely my favorite bit of advice I've picked up and it really can apply to so many things. Whether it's unnecessary tension in your downward dog, a relationship that does you no good, or extra clutter around your apartment, if it's no longer serving you, let it go.

3. Breathe
Simple, right? Not so simple for someone who can get pretty easily stressed out. Nothing beats the post-yoga buzz I have after leaving class, which is mostly due to consciously and deeply breathing for over an hour. It feels amazing, and when I get stressed now the first thing I look to change is how I'm breathing.

4. Be present ... and okay with it
If you're physically somewhere, mentally be there, too. It's not fair to you and the people around you if you're constantly obsessing about the future (or the past). To have a good yoga practice, you can't be somewhere else. You need to focus on your breath and your body to feel the benefits (and not hurt yourself). I've been trying to apply this "mantra" to my daily life.

5. You can achieve more than you think
A few months ago, I could barely hold plank pose for more than a few seconds and I've steadily worked my way past that ... to be able to hold a headstand (still so thrilled!), which is something I didn't think I'd be able to accomplish for at least a year. Lesson learned: if you really put in the time and effort and believe in your work, what you can accomplish is limitless.

While it may not be for everyone, I love it. Have you ever tried yoga? What did it teach you?




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