Since I was in my early 20s yoga has been a part of my life in one-way or another. At some points it was loyalty to a yoga studio, other times it meant rolling out my
yoga mat in my bedroom and practicing, and other times on a mountaintop or the edge of the water at the beach. I even incorporated yoga into my thesis in my graduate program. The beauty of yoga is you can do it anywhere for as little or as long as you want and still reap some benefit. Heck, I take a minute or two in between clients to get into a pose for refocusing or clearing my mind before my next client.
The principles of yoga are endless so I acknowledge this simple blog post will not do the depth of yoga its justice. But what I do want to share are the basic lessons that my yoga practice and teachers have taught me that directly relate to life’s lessons and practice as well:
- Yoga is a practice. There is no finish line. Each day you show up to your mat and practice with intention.
- There are no comparisons in yoga. Whether you are in a room of fellow yogis or by yourself, your body and practice is all that counts. There is no benefit in comparing your practice or pose to any other person.
- Set intentions. Every class you set an intention. Did you show up for strength? Acceptance? Stretching? Grace? And with that intention you engage in your practice and do not deviate from that intention.
- You accept whoever “showed up” on your mat that day. Maybe it is a version of you that is tried. Or maybe you are feeling strong. Or maybe your muscles ache. Whatever it is, you accept that body and treat it with grace.
- Taking stillness. The importance of stillness is invaluable. At the end of very practice you lay in stillness and allow your body to absorb the benefits of your practice. Stillness also allows you to connect your mind and body.
- When you get into balancing postures it is critical you stay focused. If you allow your eyes to wonder or your mind to compare to others you will inevitably loose your balance.
- Wondering eyes leads to a wondering mind. Stay focused on your what you’re doing.
Whether you practice yoga or not, try to incorporate these concepts into your daily life. I know it has helped me practice grace, self-compassion, balance, and intention on and off my mat each day.