08 Jul JUNE – Practice yoga daily
Practice yoga daily
After my successes with dabbling in yoga throughout May, I was interested to see what a difference it would make if I downward dogged on the daily. I made it my resolution to get to the mat everyday. I was very aware of the anxiety that could be generated if I couldn’t make it, or if I was tired… Chaos!!! I have a terrible habit of getting attached to an idea and beating myself up over failing to adhere to a routine! So I tried to prepare. I reminded myself that if I couldn’t attend a class – it wasn’t the end of the world and not worth losing my mind over! A local yoga studio was offering a deal – $49 for a month of unlimited classes. Perfect! This would help me on my path to yogi stardom! I signed up and was on my way to a better, bendier me!
Yoga became the best part of my day. My first class on June one was a delight! The day before, I’d battled having to have a serious chat to a colleague about something. The whole thing ended in tears (from her) and I felt awful. I’d lost sleep over this conversation the night before. The message within my very first class the following morning, was that often you can’t change how you approach a situation. Sometimes the person has pent up issues, frustrations and distorted perspectives already. The practice taught me to be kind and maintain intention and not let situations like this consume your thoughts. Move on. Oh…my…god – was this tattooed yoga instructor reading my mind??? I walked out knowing that yoga was my calling.
Throughout the month, I learnt a number of lessons from my daily practice. There were reminders about breathing, not just in yoga, but also in times of frustration and overwhelming emotion. Others included; to remember to be in the moment, to look up and see how beautiful the world is as opposed to being caught up is the hustle and bustle of a busy day…
I started keeping track of all the lessons I was learning, so that I could look back on them later.
I have included them at the bottom of this post.
These were all conducive to my commandments and resolutions. I was falling more and more in love with yoga with each day. I was entirely convinced that it was just what I needed to improve my happiness.
This resolution tested me in all new ways. During June, Matt and I went away on a holiday to Melbourne. Because we were caught up doing other things, I missed my yoga practice for 2 days. SHOCK HORROR! I wasn’t 100% okay with this adaption to my routine, but through preparing myself for this, I was able to understand that sometimes plans change and that there are other things more important at that time. I was definitely working on my commandment to ‘be flexible’ and it felt good to notice a shift in my mindset!
As yoga improved my physical flexibility, it also was making me much more emotionally and mentally flexible too.
Yoga was an excellent prompt to think about a number of my commandments. Much of the practice is directed at noticing and reflecting upon feelings (emotional and physical). What I started to notice was that I mostly felt amazing walking out of yoga but was starting to feel anxious about going to the gym for my weights days. It really pissed me off to be there!!! I decided to listen to my instincts and follow my commandments to ‘slow down,’ ‘be flexible,’ ‘heal’ and ‘be realistic’ and just told myself no more gym for the last 2 weeks of the month. The difference this made was profound! I was trying to do too much and was losing sight of what yoga and this month is all about.
Yoga is about experimenting, testing yourself and gaining perspective. I was dabbling in yoga at a couple of different studios and experiencing the difference between yoga instructors. All had different ideas on the practice and I got something different from each of them. I really love my main yoga instructor Amanda. Her form of yoga focuses on alignment. She knows a hell of a lot about the human body. I also connect to her spiritual messages in yoga. We talk a lot at the end of class and as I shared my enthusiasm with her and talked to her about my connection with the lessons, she suggested to me that teacher training may be a wonderful option. I told her I would have to wait until I was much better but she was quick to tell me that I have an understanding of a side of yoga that experienced yogis of over 10 years don’t have. That was amazing to hear. I decided that I would make it my goal to work towards completing this course the next year. I want to do this course, not to become a yoga teacher necessarily, but to understand the practice and philosophy behind yoga more. In keeping with my commandment – to ‘be a learner,’ I am excited to learn more about something that made such a big difference in my life.
To top off the end to an amazing month of yoga – I attended one of Amanda’s master classes on a weekend. Three hours of yoga and a solid half hour meditation at the end. The yoga class explored back bends and this challenged me in a range of ways. I worked with other people to get up into a wheel pose. I was the volunteer to show people how they could perform a move. I was so SO happy to be there. Our meditation at the end was focused on a goddess of abundance. Amanda talked about how so often we can come from a place of lack and hone in on all the things we suck at. She maintains that you need to focus on all the things you have – take a deeper look at all the positives. This was something I definitely needed to do. My commandment to ‘love yourself’ popped into my head. So thought I could delve into this further in July. Because I connected so strongly with this message, I was able to meditate on a whole new and amazing level. I felt fantastic! I concluded that I could work on developing my mediation practice in the next month.
I love yoga for the person I have become, for helping me to appreciate who I was and for making me who I am today as I write this post. In this moment, I am a woman who looks after herself, cares about others, exudes love, challenges her own assumptions and that of others. I am strong in some ways and getting stronger in others. I am working towards identifying where I can be more flexible and other ways to refine and tweak what I already do.
I am full of wonder and optimism for my future. I am happier…
What yoga has taught me…
Yoga is about flexibility and strength in both the body and the mind. I am strong both physically and mentally. I need to work on my flexibility to touch my toes and my heart.
Sometimes how people react to you, is not a reflection of what you are doing. They may be holding onto sometime totally unrelated. Maintain a good intention when dealing with these people and never take things personally.
Remember to breath. Not just in yoga, but also in times of heightened emotions.
When things are crazy busy and your head is down and you are working hard – Remember to take a minute to look up from the chaos and appreciate the smaller things in life that surround you.
Don’t waste time on people or events that do not serve you positively. Remove these things and focus on the good.
Reflect and scan the body and mind for the subtle smaller feelings. Too often we get caught up on the big things and do not take the time to notice the smaller niggling feelings that could evolve into something bigger later.
When trying to balance, try to focus on yourself and not the people around you who are falling. Don’t always leap into trying to balance, take smaller steps to get there and pull back in small stages to avoid falling. If we leap into things too fast we can crash down. If we take things in smaller steps, we are more likely to get there and stay there for longer.
It will take time to heal and be flexible. You have spent a number of years building up to where you are and have made things rigid. Don’t be frustrated when it doesn’t happen straight away. Notice the small improvements daily.
Focus on the positives always. If a negative thought floats through your mind, replace it with a positive – or 5!!!
Yoga is an ever evolving practice. It takes a long time to master. It is okay that some days are better than others. Some days our bodies feel great, but our minds do not. Other days it is the other way around.
Yoga is about you and only you. Do not look at the person next to you and what they can do or how they look in a position. Focus on what you can do and how you feel only. Your body and mind is the only thing you need to focus on…