When you unroll yourself to practice, you probably recognize that something is shifting. And, after a few (hundred) Vinyasas you might even notice that these shifts are profound and necessary! But what actually happens as you flow? What does yoga teach you?
Beyond the asana and the philosophical underpinnings, here are a few of my favorite things that yoga has taught me!
1) How To Breathe
Yoga without awareness of the breath is not yoga. It’s that simple. I tell my classes all the time, if you just want to wiggle– try Zumba! The point is the practice requires our mindful attention. One way to harness this attention is breath. And, when we practice mindful breathing or pranayama, we are gifted a direct-line to our ability to positively affect our energy and our mood.
2) That Self-Care Rules!
You are not stupid. By now, you’ve heard about the importance and necessity of self-care. And, yet, if you are like me, you will realize that self-care is a practice! One of my favorite things about yoga is how it taught me to enjoy the practice of self-care and allow it to be an offering. When I feel better, I’m generally a sweeter person to everyone.
3) That My Expectations Have Errors
Remember the time you told yourself ‘no’ because you were too weak, or inexperienced, or _______. I’ve been there! And, yoga has helped me get out of the entrapment called: ‘not good enough’. This is a HUGE reason I practice. Practice teaches me that I am not decided. We don’t handstand to handstand— we handstand to buck the limits that told us otherwise. Be willing to be more than you decided. Then, watch how your life becomes limitless!
4) That I Think All The F**king Time!
Inhale- ‘what am I having for dinner?’, exhale- ‘where did she get that top?’. Does your mind do this too? Yoga practice has a way of quickly showing us the fleeting nature of our attention. This is an important lesson! The more we can recognize how our mind moves all the time, the less we can feel detoured by it’s skittishness. And, with practice, we can even learn to redirect our mind back home.
5) That My Body Has Intuition
Yoga has a way of celebrating the body in a way that is both respectful and mindful. We learn to inhabit the body as a practice instead of decorate the body as a possession. This is one of the most healing teachings that I’ve gotten to experience. My body gets a say. Our yoga practice requires this! And, the more we learn the value of listening to what our body has to say, the more we feel comfortable nesting lovingly into our body as a home.
6) That I Already Have What I Need
Yoga practice never preaches– ‘Come here and change you!’. Quite the opposite in fact, yoga practice says– ‘Come here and be you!’. And, as we practice more and more, we learn to subtly strip away and release all the toxic trappings and stories that keep us from ourselves. Because (trust me on this) we are perfect. Yoga is the experience of realizing ourselves as love.
While yoga has its general benefits and lessons to teach us, how they relate to our lives differ individually. What has yoga taught YOU?