The lessons I've learned from yoga mirror many of the lessons that I believe are important to learn in life. Most recently, it has taught me so much about patience and focus... And in a day & age where ‘keeping up with the Jone's’’ is no longer just our direct neighbors, but also every other person we follow on social media, I believe patience & focus are skills we could all benefit from honing. Here are 3 ways yoga has inspired me to live:
- Focus on your own journey - Although it’s great to be inspired by others, it’s important to remember that their journey is totally different than yours. It’s tempting to look up and compare your stretches and warrior moves to those of others in the class. Thankfully, our yoga instructors guide and remind us that it truly does not matter what others look like… And when you think about it, it’s true. Your only goal should be to improve upon your practice at your own pace and give yourself what you need that day (whether that be pushing yourself, taking it slower, or focusing on your breathing). If you get yourself into a mindset of trying to compete with others, you close off to the joy, learning, and growth you can experience if you focus on being patient with your own individual practice. When you’re in a competitive mindset, the practice can become a chore or a burden, making it difficult to see your own growth & wearing off your momentum... With the guidance of our instructors & some practice, we're led to focus on how we feel instead of comparing how we look … And with some practice, I've found that when I focus on how I feel, there's more space for growth – both mentally & physically. It’s a personal practice, as is what we create in our own lives.
- Focus on what you can control, free yourself from the rest - We’re in a time where we’ve all been reminded of the many unknowns in life… Practicing yoga has taught me to focus on what I can control despite what’s going on around me. It’s taught me to push through difficult & challenging moves while focusing on my breath, and reminding myself that I am capable of more than I could ever imagine. It’s brought me a calmer and more peaceful outlook, not to mention a stronger body. Most importantly, as I've continued showing up in my yoga practice, I'm developing my own inner guide (buried deep down under my fears)... Now more than ever, I can hear my authentic, best self speaking up and guiding my thoughts, just like a yoga instructor would do.
- There is no perfect destination, we are continuously growing and evolving - Yes, as we practice more, we will improve our strength and abilities. However, as I've gotten more into yoga, I've realized that one of the biggest benefits of it is not to have a perfect practice... It's to teach you about life and how to show up for yourself for whatever you need in the moment. It's to teach us that we're all human, and no matter what fancy technology comes out - there's nothing that will magically make you better at yoga aside from your own mind and body. Once we accept this in one form or another, we soften and can enjoy the journey a bit more. We give ourselves more grace and patience to grow continuously.
As I continue embracing my yoga practice, my hope is for these lessons to mirror themselves in my life outside of yoga, reminding me to be more patient and focused. I am growing my inner ‘guide’ – the one who speaks gently and reminds me that growth is personal, takes time, and I am worthy every moment along the way.