What do you think of when someone says yoga? You’re probably picturing a petite young lady contorting herself into a seemingly impossible position. Does she look like a pretzel? Or maybe you’re picturing a man creviced into a mountainside with long dreads, meditating. How long do you think he has been sitting there? Never mind those silly questions and visuals! Yoga is so much more than putting ourselves in weird looking positions or sitting in silence. Practicing yoga is like practicing life! It allows you to practice being, after all we are human “beings” and we could totally use some practice at being. With all the struggles of modern day life such as, packing the kid’s lunch in the morning, sending them off to school with their homework finished, driving them to lacrosse practice, all the while making sure your work is done and the bills are paid. Life throws a lot at us and we seem to throw a lot back at life. We say things like life just isn’t fair, why me, or oh no not again! Don’t worry there is nothing wrong with feeling this way and you’re not the only one feeling this way, so breathe. Just sit back and breathe, inhale and exhale…hey look your practicing yoga! You see, it’s not as hard as the magazines make it look. Now let me share with you a few reasons how yoga is like practicing life…
- The hardest part of practicing yoga isn’t touching your toes nor is it doing a handstand. The hardest part of yoga is showing up on your mat! It takes courage, determination and dedication to show up on your mat every day, or once a week whatever it may be in your case. However often you practice yoga isn’t necessarily important, it’s that you’re actually stepping onto your mat on a consistent basis. This shows a lot about your character. It shows that you have will power, and that you’re willing to be vulnerable. It shows that you care about your health and well-being and want to be happy, healthy and wealthy. Showing up on your mat to practice yoga means so much more than it actually looks like. It’s all the character attributes it took to get your lazy butt up off the couch and onto your mat to practice BEING.
- How often have you wanted to give up in life? Whether it be giving up on a relationship or a lifelong dream you’ve imagined since you were a child. Or maybe it was giving up on your new diet (oh yeah “diets” always die, but that’s for another post). Anyway giving up is not empowering by any means, and we usually then make ourselves feel guilty for “throwing in the towel.” It’s easy to give up in life, it’s difficult to deal with the uncomfortable moments we are presented in life. And that is exactly what these moments are, “presents” they are opportunities for us to open up and expand our ability of what we think and feel is possible. This concept of practicing your power over giving up shows up in a yoga class almost every other breathe. For instance, your teacher calls out Eagle pose, you know the one where your legs are wrapped around each other in an awkward position and your arms are all tangled up in front of your face making it difficult to breathe, and you think oh God not this pose! But I bet you dismissed what your silly mind had to say and wrapped yourself into that pose. You may not of felt or looked like an eagle flying gracefully, but the important thing is that you didn’t give up. You got out of your comfort zone and exercised your will power. The power to have will over what your crazy monkey mind was saying, GO YOU, now just 20 more breaths!
- Practicing yoga is like practicing life, in the sense that it reminds us to SLOW DOWN, and BREATHE. Most of us forget to breathe, I mean yea were always breathing (thank God) but are we aware of the quality of our breathe? Are we aware of why are heart is pounding out of our chest, or why it feels like an elephant is standing on our chest, you know that thing we call stress? Are we even aware of these feelings and why we’re feeling them? Practicing yoga reminds us to constantly be aware of our breath, because if it becomes unstable or erratic we know, okay back out of that twist a bit, or skip this vinyasa. We develop a sensitivity to what and why our body is reacting the way it is. In other words we are able to listen to our bodies’ emotional guidance system. Throughout the practice of yoga we are able to control the quality of our breath and bring ourselves into a state of peace and stillness through this breath! And oh man is that a good feeling!
- Yoga is also like practicing Life because it teaches us to be PATIENT. This is one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn and currently am still learning! But because of yoga I am now okay with that. I can sit back, breathe and be at peace when I can’t get myself into a pose, and the best part is I don’t judge myself. (Well at least not all the time hahaJ). We live in a demanding society, we want this and that, we want the super-sized version with all the gizmos & gadgets and we want it NOW! This is where yoga becomes such a vital component to practicing real life problems. For example, a lot of people lack the flexibility to touch their toes, and they want to be able to do it so bad. But in yoga a good teacher reminds us that it’s about the journey not the destination, and if you try and expedite the process you’re probably going to hurt yourself or make things worse. So in this way practicing yoga teaches us to take our time and enjoy the process, and that one day our hard work will pay off and we’ll be able to touch those darn lil’ piggies!
So get up off your butt, unroll your mat.
Sit up tall, relax your body. Breathe.
Let go of everything that happened earlier today, and BE.
Be present, right here right NOW.
And BOOM not only are you practicing YOGA, but you’re practicing LIFE!
Doesn’t it feel good?
NAMASATE my friends, hope to see you on your mat 😉