This past weekend, I did my final yoga conference to complete my 200 hour training through YogaFIT. I began my yoga journey through them in 2001. It took me 18 years😊 hee hee! I am 100% happy with how I planned my teaching progression through these years and my yoga practice has completely changed my life. I’m so thankful for ways that I have grown through yoga and I know that yoga will be a daily intentional blessing each day of my life. I need this so much for myself—to have something to practice and grow from, without the intention of being perfect or even working towards that.
The top 5 things (among so many) that I have learned from yoga and see, experience and connect with in the big picture of life:
1. NOW. Years ago, (over 10 years ago), I read the book “The Power of Now,” by Eckhart Tolle. Life changing. Amazing. Hard to read at times, but I GOT IT and some of the nuggets were literally life changing to the point that I think of them every day. As in: NOW: Are you okay right now? Ok, then no further thought- nothing forward or backward. Just now. And then the next breath- the next now. Still okay, Good. Continuing: the next breath is the next now the next okay. This has helped me with anxiety, depression, during marathons, races, hard days of LIFE. NOW… We are always okay right now, and that is the only place we really ever need to be. It is amazing. So simple, but so not simple. If you are reading this and interested- there is also The power of now book “in practice”- I cannot remember if that is the exact name, however it is basically a shortened, easier read version with all the main points as “bullet points” and just less philosophy/psychology/easy to read and understand.
2. Let go, releasing, non attachment. Of course, we have all heard the “buzzword” in yoga to “let go.” Over the years, through practice, my body, mind and self within the first few breaths of beginning a practice find myself being able to “let go” and ease into my body and breath. I literally can feel my insides changing, relaxation and ease settling into my circulation. I am able to release. Because I am ALWAYS holding onto something. My middle name should have been “GRIP”. I grip too tight. I hold forever. I hold tightly and close to my heart; I am sensitive (not a bad thing); and I grip hurt, goals, expectations, and my ways. By the grace of God, I have been able to learn, even for whatever amount of the day that I can….from yoga and faith… to let go. For the time in which I’m practicing and the time I’ve learned to live my yoga off the mat… which of course is always and forever a work in practice, I release my expectations, my rigidity, my tight mind and heart (and muscles). I’ve learned to identify what I am attached to—we all are, and we always will be, but we can always work on it. We can recognize that we are attached to our beliefs, our expectations, our ego, sense of being right. It takes work, discipline and focus to recognize and to bravely release self- doubt, to live in the moment. I have personally found such a fine line between reaching and striving to be my best me, to improve places of myself that I want to work on, but at the same time to accept, release, and be. I love that I am aware of myself, but love identifying and working for the rest of my life to notice these places of attachments and gently release them.
3. WAVES. Again…. Somehow… I have done some work to just feel the waves of breath within me. My body feels the waves and just rides them. I cannot control them. I acknowledge the flow of this wave of breath, and I recognize it in EVERY.SINGLE.THING. Our life is a wave. Our fitness is a wave of up and down. It can be no other way. Seasons are a wave; and we must follow; it is not our choice. We wave in and out of our places that we need to be in and keep coming back, closer in, further out, adjusting, being mindful, making intentional choices, and riding the wave. Our nutrition is never spot on forever…. It rides a wave of what our body needs, of what the seasons bring. Let go and ride the wave. My business is a wave. I must trust. Am I okay right now. Yes. So just be in this breath that I am okay in. Carry on, next breath… next wave.
4. Breathe, belly, soft. I maybe should have put this as number 1. This really is maybe the “thing” that went “ding ding ding ding ding!!!!!!” in my head. My body, mind, heart was crying for this. To breathe in yoga is to feel the rise and fall of the belly. I bet for the first 30 years of my life, I bet I never breathed fully. BECAUSE… there is no way I ever would have let my belly rise. There is no way I would have allowed it to “expand”, rise, or go anywhere else from sucking it IN! What total life changing SHOCK to breathe and to find that I can with full intention ALLOW my belly to rise with an inhale. What unexplainable freedom. I can accept my breath and what it brings to my body. I can stop fighting myself. NOBODY FREAKING CARES if my belly rises! HA! A lifetime of sucking in. Boom. What a waste of time that was. To even say “belly” when I teach. “Belly”: that is a soft word. It is not core, signifying muscular strength, six pack, solid, etc. Belly is like a baby belly. Who even says BELLY. You cannot say belly and not think “soft.” And SOFT. When I teach and cue “soft belly”. Seriously. LIFE. FREAKING. CHANGING. That is against the ultimate goal of my first 25 years of life. I lived trying to figure out why my stomach was so fat (in my head), fighting my own body for 25 years. I lived being a rigid core of gripping muscles. Soft? WHAT?! I can now breathe, you are KIDDING ME. I am free.
5. We ground to rise. We can only go as high as we have gone low. Enough said.. right? Amazing to really feel the expansion of our body. When we press down, we go up. When we press back, we go forward. When we are in the depths of despair, it is possible to rise. And we will rise in a wave of breath, with softness in our bodies and mind, without thinking forward or backwards. Namaste.