5 lessons I’ve learned from practicing yoga
Each of the lessons has been useful to me both on and off the mat
In France, yoga is still considered a hippie activity. I attempted one course of a very calm meditation class dubbed "Yoga" and dropped it because it was boring.
Fast-forward It's been two years. When I went to Australia, I decided to give it another shot. It's actually rather fashionable in Australia. I was fortunate enough to stumble into a wonderful studio and become addicted to hot Vinyasa.
Here's what I've learned one year later. Each of the lessons has been useful to me both on and off the mat. Every single professor I've met has insisted on them, regardless of how different they are.
1. Decide what you want to get out of your practice.
Regardless of how difficult or powerful a class is, it always begins gently. Teachers take care to ease us into the practice as much as possible to avoid injury. But, before we can begin to warm up our bodies, we must first warm up our minds. We are encouraged to create an intention for our practice: do we want to be gentle or kind to ourselves, do we want this session to be soothing or challenging? We can make it into whatever we desire.
I frequently set the same goal for myself: to be accepting and persistent.
Acceptant of my body's limitations, which I should appreciate rather than battle.
Persistent in not giving up and pushing myself to those limitations to the best of my ability.
This appeals to me because my intentions are precisely what I need to practice in my daily life.
2. Be present in the moment
One of my favorite professors in Sydney used to say, "It's yoga if you want to lie down in Savasana for an hour as long as you're breathing."
Throughout the session, the instructor encourages us to focus on our breath to help us stay in the present moment, rather than allowing our minds to wander to thoughts about the next meeting, the project we need to accomplish, and so on. If it does, that's fine; we just need to pay attention to it and return our attention to what we're doing.
Because hot Vinyasa can be a strenuous practice (I sweat like no other! ), I've discovered that it aids in concentration. The hotter and more difficult the weather becomes, the easier it becomes to maintain my concentrate on my mat.
So, today is all that matters. Now. I'm more calmer and able to go forward when I can focus on that rather than obsessing about what occurred yesterday or what will happen tomorrow. One of my mentors told me:
It's hard to be dissatisfied when you're focused on the current moment, when you're fully present.
3. Pay attention to your body.
This one is quite significant to me. I had two herniated discs in my lower back a few years ago.
So, now that I'd been fortunate enough to heal, I promised myself I'd do everything I could to avoid harming myself again, and this time, I'd pay attention to whatever message my body was sending me.
Yoga is perfectly in tune with this. A constant indication from the teachers that I've never heard in any other physical activity but that I think is crucial is:
This is how the posture is executed. Do not do it if you are in pain. It's all right. Don't go there if you can typically accomplish the posture but your body is telling you no today. It's absolutely acceptable.
4. There is always room for advancement.
And it's because of this that it's intriguing. It's a wonderful sensation to become aware of changes in your body. I can now put my legs in places I never thought conceivable a year ago. I recall staring at a teacher's weird poses with my mouth and eyes wide open, thinking to myself that I'd never be able to do that. However, I gradually became aware of the changes, however minor, until I was able to grasp those precise stances.
In a crow posture, I'm flying! I have a serious expression on my face.
The best aspect is that you can always challenge yourself with more difficult poses and variations. It's never going to stop.
Just like in real life! This lesson serves as a reminder to me that I'll never stop learning. I'll always be able to improve in some way. It's never going to end.
5. Practice on a regular basis
I've made it a habit to practice first thing in the morning, before breakfast. I used to be unable to exercise early in the morning, particularly on an empty stomach, but after a few sessions, I simply became accustomed to it.
I tried to attend courses every day, but I discovered it was too much for my body, and my back was frequently uncomfortable. So, for the entire year, I reduced it to 3–4 classes per week. I attempted to maintain a level of consistency as much as feasible. I fell off the wagon a few of times, going for a month or so at a time. However, I'd get back on track.
That's the only way I've been able to notice a difference. It reaffirms my belief that practice and hard work, rather than intrinsic genius, will enable me to perfect any skill I desire.