It’s no secret I love yoga. I am a quiet and reserved person, yet when someone asks me a question about yoga or my practice, I am a momentary extrovert. The way my body moves now, after just shy of 10 years of practicing, still amazes me. It’s the way I now pick up something I’ve dropped on the floor. Or how I get out of bed in the morning. Yes, finding the earth under my fingertips during my forward fold in class is wonderful, but the grace with which I can now flow through life is the greatest gift yoga ever gave me. The ability to adapt when my happiness is at risk is the flexibility I am most grateful for.
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The grace with which I can now flow through life is the greatest gift yoga ever gave me.
The physical benefits of yoga cannot be refuted nor denied, but those benefits are small compared to the perspective, grounding and confidence a well-worn practice gives you.
Here are a few perspectives that help me apply the same flexibility I’ve begun to feel in my body to the rest of my life:
1. THE POWER OF CONSCIOUS BREATHING
How many times today have you paid attention to your inhales and exhales? It’s unfortunate that we don’t pay more attention to our breathing because it is the simplest tool we have for finding mental and physical awareness. It’s something we will have as long as we are alive, it doesn’t cost us $7.99 per month — in fact, we own it entirely. That sounds like a pretty solid tool if you ask me.
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It’s quite simple; focusing on each inhale and each exhale as they come and go can help bring your awareness inward. The breath is the glue that connects the mind with the body. It allows both to vibrate on the same frequency, for it is one thing they both rely on. Whether it’s for a couple minutes a day, or perhaps longer, take time to listen to your inhales and exhales. Then, you can actually begin to match your movement with your breath. Yes, it’s like a dance, and I don’t know about you, but I’d rather dance through life.
2. THE FUN OF BEING A KID AGAIN
What is the one thing a child always asks you? It’s ‘why?’ Half the time, we may not know the answer. But that really doesn’t matter; what matters is that we stopped for a second and questioned status quo. That’s what makes children awesome; they have no walls built yet. They have no blinders or biases and see the world in its purest form.
Even animals have this ability. I’ve learned that comparing dogs with kids is not popular (especially from my girlfriends with kids) yet here we are. My dog, Apple, can’t even walk like a normal dog because she wants to stop and smell every plant, every post and every person. She is stopping to smell the roses.
Reconnect with your inner kid and ask “why?” more often. Why can’t I sleep at night? Or, why is it that I don’t enjoy my job anymore? Don’t be afraid to ask your adult-self the tough questions and stop to take in life occasionally.
3. THE GIFT OF SELF REFLECTION
Being flexible in life requires asking yourself the tough questions to continue to learn. Understand your triggers. Recognize your hot buttons and true desires. You will understand you can be selfless yet put nothing above your own peace. That means walking away from people and things that cause too much friction.
Sit with yourself and ask yourself the tough questions. Use your breath to relax and connect your body with your mind. Then, remind yourself that you don’t have to allow anyone or anything to get in the way of your peace. Be fluid, begin to adapt and find flexibility.