Today I want to share a topic with you that honestly 4 years ago I never would have believed…
Yoga is not just a workout!
This may surprise some of you and if it does I can totally relate.
4 years ago I was fully immersed in the gym and personal training. It was all about the workout for me.
When I first got introduced to yoga, if you can believe it, I had very little interest in it, but my body had taken a major toll from doing my first ever triathlon in 2009 and the only exercise I could do was yoga. So I walked into the room, and for the first 6 months it really was just about the workout.
The workout got me in the room but really it is was what was happening to my mind, my belief systems, and the way I was showing up on and off my mat that was continuing to bring me back and what eventually led me to being so inspired to teach this practice:)!
I started to realize that as much as I was strengthening and stretching my physical muscles, I was also stretching and strengthening my mindset. I started to be able to do more advanced postures like crow and handstand, but I also realized that a huge piece of me even attempting these poses was my belief that I could do them and to laugh at myself when I didn’t or when I fell. (ps. I still fall out of these poses :))
What I have learned from my yoga practice on and off the mat is that my mindset directly effects my physical yoga practice and that my physical yoga practice directly effects my mindset… they are not separate entities!
So here’s where you come in. Today I want to share a couple tips with you on and off the mat that have made a tremendous impact on my physical yoga practice, my mindset, and how I show up in my life… and I hope they inspire you!
Enjoy and wishing you a yummilicious Yoga Asana Shakin week!
1. Your mind is a Superhero… You will always prove yourself right:
What I have learned about my mind is that my thoughts got some super powers. What I mean by that is my thoughts are pretty powerful. The good news is that we are not our thoughts so we have the prerogative to change them at any time (I had to use the word prerogative because it made me think of that Bobby Brown jam… it’s my prerogative. Haha). Whether you are on or off your mat my tip for you on this one is don’t believe everything you think. It’s not about making thoughts right or wrong here just the opportunity to know you have the power to think what you want and believe what you want. I heard this saying once that we can ever only think one thought at a time so choose a “good” one. My challenge for you is the next time you are on your mat and you come up to a pose that scares you or you think you can’t do, question that. You still might not be able to do it that day but at least you gave it a whirl and let yourself show up in the moment.
2. The only way out is through:
Whenever I would go to my teacher trainings with Baron Baptiste this was a line he said a lot. What he means by this, or at least what I took from it and want to share with you, is that often times a strong sensation will come up in our body on the mat or off the mat and instantly our minds will go to the path of least resistance… I don’t want to feel this right now. What I have noticed about resisting what I am feeling is that it doesn’t go away, it shows up even stronger, and I am not being present anymore because I am spending all my time and energy avoiding the feeling. My tip for you on this one is feel what you feel, (the only way out is through), whether it is an intense pose on your yoga mat or an intense person in your life and see what happens when you feel into what you are feeling first and then responding second. It is not an all or nothing but what I have noticed from this is that usually when I feel into what I am feeling it goes away quickly and in relationship to being on my mat it shifts my relationship with the shape and either it allows me to stay longer, go deeper, strengthen more, or consciously decide to get out of it.
3. Laugh it off and Instant Forgiveness:
This one has been my saving grace! I learned this one from some amazing teachers at Live Love Teach. Whether I am on my yoga mat doing a one legged crow thing, teaching a class, or I am off my mat in a conversation, etc. I have learned to let myself off the hook, laugh when I “mess up” or fall, and instantly forgive myself in the process (still learning :_)! Letting myself off the hook, laughing and instantly forgiving has given me so much more freedom to try different poses on my mat, be even more vulnerable in my teaching, and also take risks and try new things off my mat. My challenge for you this week on and off your yoga mat is get messy, try new poses you might not be used to (social situations off your mat count too), and laugh it off/instantly forgive yourself if it doesn’t go as planned.
4. Don’t rush the process:
I think the saying goes that they didn’t build Rome in one day, so why should you expect yourself to have all the answers or get into every single yoga pose in one day :)! Whenever I start getting really hard on myself for thinking I should be further along them I am (on or off the mat) I remind myself that it is a practice not a perfect and I have my whole life to keep showing up, playing fully, and learning. My suggestion is definitely keep taking steps and showing up but let yourself off the hook for not being “perfect”, you are enough just as you are today and you are human :). Notice if not rushing the process shifts anything for you. I have noticed that when I take the pressure off myself I actually achieve a lot faster what it was I was wanting to achieve in the first place.