Yoga, as they say, is a practice. It’s challenging yourself without pushing beyond your own reasonable physical limits. It’s not about getting it perfect or competing with the person next to you; it simply practice. The purpose is of course to advance, but to do so while mindfully exploring both your thoughts and your body; deepening your understanding, and abilities.
There are days when I’m reluctant (lazy) to get on the mat, but I’m always grateful I did. Part of this has to do with the intention I set before practice begins. After unrolling the mat, I always take a moment to ground and center and reflect on what’s going on in my life; inevitably this shows up in my body. Where am I being inflexible? Where am I stuck? What am I afraid to let go of? Where could I use more balance? Where am I pushing too hard? I never have the answers before practice, but this is what I always seek to find out – just not all at once 🙂
So every session, before actively beginning, I take a moment and set an intention for this particular day’s practice. I then use my finger to “write” the intention on my mat, and usually around a specific issue that is troubling me at the time. It may be something like …breakthrough barriers (and that’s usually a tough class!) profound shift in thoughts or awareness, allowing more flow, or simply …. ease. Inevitably, the instructor says several things that seem to apply exactly to me.
Here are some of the Lessons I Learned from Yoga this week:
1. When things get tough, recommit and go deeper – not push harder
2. Repetition and persistence overcomes obstacles, not just brute force.
3. Life is full of drama, highs and lows… it’s okay to have balance and be perfectly still.
4. Being still on the outside doesn’t mean nothing is happening on the inside.
5. Move when it’s time to move, once you are grounded… not out of anxiety or because your are simply bored…. that will surely throw off your balance.
6. Just because someone else makes it look easy, doesn’t mean it is! 🙂
Yoga continues to change my life in miraculous ways; this is just one of them.
I’d like to say a very special thanks to all of the following amazing yogis and yoginis:
The incredible Sara Isenberg.. your heart, compassion, wisdom and sheer tenacity have changed my life! I thank you with every piece of my soul.
Austin Hollingshead for your enthusiasm, passion and tough classes that have helped me to grow so much in the last year.
Exhale Yoga Studio in Vancouver, BC and especially Jolene for her amazing teachings and profound wisdom (that birthed this intention process for me) at a time when I needed it most.
Thanks to YogaWorks in Hollywood, CA for helping to stretch and strengthen both my body and my mind.
*updated February 2018