For years I’ve had a love – hate relationship with yoga.
It’s such a beautiful practice and I love the expression of it that I see from others. Yet, I hate the struggle it presents for me because of my limited flexibility.
I realize yoga is about so much more than stretching and flexibility. It is truly a spiritual practice.
This has been one of the most challenging years for me. Every area of my life has shifted and I’ve been forced completely outside of my comfort zone.
Recently, I finally decided to stop resisting the changes and began to embrace them.
That mindset has followed me to the mat. I’ve been incorporating yoga into my lifestyle for the past few weeks.
I started out practicing once or twice a week because my body was so tense and I felt like I needed it.
Now, my yoga practice is aligning with my life. I’m experiencing a tremendous transformation in my life, and the same thing is happening on the mat.
I increased my practice to daily sessions and I’m amazed by my progress.
Obviously, my flexibility has improved. But here are some of the lessons I’m learning on the mat and in life.
- Be present and enjoy the moment. When I take the time to be fully present in the poses I’m not focused on the time. I bask in every sensation my body experiences. It reminds me that I’m alive.
- Be grateful. My body is functioning and moving and serving me in ways that I don’t take notice of often enough. I no longer take that for granted.
- Don’t be judgmental. I have spent most of my life being critical of myself and my body, especially this past year as I’ve gained some weight. But as I feel the changes happening in my body, and I become more flexible with every practice, I feel so grateful. How dare I judge something that is working so hard for me. My body is a temple. It should be cherished. No amount of weight gain or weight loss will ever change that. My body is uniquely mine. Therefore, it is perfect!
- I’m enough. Whatever I bring to the mat on any given day is enough. Sometimes I can do more. Some days I’m capable of less. But whatever I have in me on any given day is enough.
- Know your limitations. My yoga practice – as is my life – is uniquely my own. I’m not competing with the person next to me or the instructor on the video. I have limitations. I can take a break if I need to or modify my poses. That’s perfectly ok.
- Be consistent. You get out of it what you put into it. Everyday that I practice I get a little stronger, and little more flexible. It doesn’t even matter how much time I put in each day, I just have to show up and do the work.
It amazes me how the challenges I’m working through in my personal life mirror those I’m working through on the mat. That revelation has been a tremendous aha moment for me.
These new insights are my inspiration to get to the mat everyday. I don’t have to fear or dread my practice anymore because I’m not going to get there and feel like I’m inadequate. I’m more than enough and I have just as much a right to be there as anybody else.
Now I get it. That’s why I didn’t want to practice yoga. I believed that because I couldn’t execute the poses perfectly I shouldn’t be there. I felt insecure.
It’s heartbreaking to realize that’s how I’ve felt in my life for so long.
But now I know better. And it’s empowering! Neither life or yoga is about perfection.
As is the case in my life, I have learned in yoga that all I need to do is just show up! The rest will work itself out.
From here on out, I no longer have a love – hate relationship with yoga. It’s ALL LOVE!
Love for the practice and love for myself because now I can clearly see that my struggle was never about yoga anyway, it was all about me.