A few weeks ago, I met a set of twins who live completely different lives. Roger the twin is a huge outdoor and fitness junkie. He loves to wake up early, practices yoga, and makes an honest effort to cook a few meals at home every week. Twin Braeden sleeps in really late, smokes cigarettes and is easily angered over rush hour traffic. Roger and I had a great conversation about how he’s tried to encourage Braeden to attend yoga classes, in an effort to not only get healthy, but to also learn to a few things about how to live abudantly and happily.
Roger and I had some great conversations about how yoga has changed the way he sees the world and has given him a new outlook on how to overcome personal and professional challenges. We both agreed that with regular yoga practice, you gain access to spiritual tools to celebrate the good, overcome the bad, and breathe through the ugly. This week I’d like to share some of Roger’s new found love for yoga and what he’s learned from his first year of yoga classes.
- Showing up to class means checking all of your emotional baggage, thoughts, and inner chatter at the door. Tune into the present, and turn your awareness to what’s going on right now. I love the beginning of a yoga class because it’s the first time all day that I get to work on my Self and “my stuff”. It’s here, where a lot of stuff comes up and I really get a chance to check in with what’s frustrating me or seems challenging.
- As humans, we have this weird habit of holding onto things. Thoughts, feelings, emotions, people and physical stuff. In our minds, we justify the ‘need’ to hold on and often times we clutter our minds with extremely long convoluted conversations. Before you realize it, those conversations turn into powerful personal beliefs. With regular practice, I started to learn that when the pose is over, it’s over. The art of letting go is a lifelong practice, but everyone has their own starting point.
- We often try so hard to hold onto something from the past that we miss what’s right in front of us, in the present. The same is true for people in our lives. Sometimes, whether accidentally or purposely, we ask the people we love, to be more of who we want them to be instead of appreciating who they already are. Does this sound familiar? We’re looking so far into the future that we’re missing what’s really in front of us.
- With busy schedules, personal and professional expectations, we tend to carry a lot of tension and stress in our jaw, neck, shoulders and lower back. With regular yoga practice, teachers will help students restore their posture, and to build self esteem and confidence. The key here is to restore balance physically and mentally. By taking time for yourself, turning your awareness to the moment, this creates room to step out of the daily grind, and to restore balance in your mind, body and soul. It’s easy to get caught up with work, and before you know it, you’re burnt out and taking stress leave. When scheduling in regular yoga classes, it’s much easier to train your brain and your body to shift attention to ‘taking a break’ so you can recharge your batteries.
Listen to your body
- Often in fitness, we’re so used to setting goals for ourselves, and ultimately pushing our boundaries. With yoga practice, there is the a beautiful balance between pushing the envelope and listening to our bodies; the intention is to make this class about you. No competition with your neighbour, it’s all about listening to your body and being aware of what’s coming up for you in your work out. Maybe it’s a good day to stretch further, maybe it’s a day to not work as much, or maybe it’s a day you do nothing at all except meditate. Yoga teaches us to listen, listen, and listen some more.
Your yoga practice can be a deeper practice, with each class teaching something about yourself, should you choose to walk away with the knowledge.
What have you learned about yourself recently? Share your comments with us 1) below or 2) tweet it to us or 3) leave us a facebook message so we can share it with our beloved community.
The Breathe Mat Team