The number one thing to remember about yoga, and life, for that matter, is: You can do this. Show up, open your mind and breathe.
1. You Can Do This
Yoga is for everyone. Yes, everyone. Though it may seem to be a physical activity—and it is—it is very much an inward moving practice. It’s about union and the relief of suffering. Everyone has something they need to let go of, and everyone needs a time out from life to reflect.
2. You Don’t Have to Do Things Perfectly; Simply Show Up and Do Your Best
People are often intimidated by yoga because they aren’t flexible, can’t do all the poses, or don’t feel comfortable in classes because they aren’t as advanced as other students. I get it. It’s tough to walk into a class and have to go into child’s pose or a beginner modification while the majority of your peers are showing off their beautiful full expressions of poses.
But this is part of the journey. A little secret: I wasn’t able to do crow pose until three years after I started yoga, and I still can’t do a head stand without the wall. I do what I can, and love my body for what it allows me to do.
3. Yoga, Like Life, Is Whatever You Want it to Be
My thoughts on yoga probably differ from everyone else’s. Like I said before, yoga is an inward practice, so its meaning and use are going to differ for everyone. I challenge you to find your own meaning of what yoga really is. Take it for more than the asana practice. Consider the breath work, calmness of your mind, and energy work equally as important. Find out what yoga is to you and your life, and share it with others.
4. Sometimes You Just Have to Let it All Go
Savasana is the short period of time when your mind and body are most relaxed and at ease. It’s a brief moment in time when you can fully relax, let go of the past and the future, and just be fully present. It’s the time when you can tap into a deeper part of yourself.
5. Embrace Community and Connection
This means next time you go to a class, don’t just leave afterwards without saying hello and introducing yourself to someone new. Make a new yoga friend! We connect with other students and our teacher during our asana practice. Foster the growth of this connection and build community by interacting with other yogis after class.
6. Pause and Breathe Before You React
When life is crazy, work is hectic, and you can’t seem to get a break, reflect on the lessons you learned in your yoga classes. Stop, close your eyes and breathe. Even if it’s just three slow, deep inhales and exhales through your nose, you will feel more calm than if you continue pushing through crazy moments of life.
Sit tall and proud; have good posture, allow yourself to feel connected to others around you and the universe as a whole, and never forget to love yourself. Your true self lives inside of you and, when life seems to be spinning out of control, look inward and find peace.
7. It’s OK to Have Fun
We’ve talked a lot about moving into one’s self, finding inner peace, connecting to those around you, and a handful of other things that are to be taken seriously while finding your way down the yoga path. There’s this other, very serious element of yoga, and that’s having fun! It’s essential. Well, I think it’s essential.
Life is precious and we must treasure the moments we have here. Why not show appreciation by having fun, laughing, and enjoying ourselves? It’s OK to giggle when you fall out of tree pose. It’s quite acceptable to smile when your mind is screaming at your body to get out of pigeon pose.
8. Don’t Forget to Breathe
I mentioned this before, but it’s worth a second mention: just breathe. Remember this word, concept, and practice while practicing yoga and also outside of the studio. Our breath tells us what’s going on in our body. When we’re nervous, scared or stressed, our breath is shallow, quick and often shaky. When we are calm, peaceful, and unstressed our breath will be long, deep and fluid. In our practice, when poses get difficult and our body starts to shake, we must remember to focus on our breath. This idea should be applied to daily life as well.
—by Zuzu for Wanderlust
This post is part of Wanderlust and MyFitnessPal’s 28-day Run-Yoga-Meditate challenge. Whether you are new to one (or all three!) of these activities, join us to gain a healthier mind and body in less than a month.
Photo courtesy of Wanderlust