Things yoga taught me I never thought of before starting
Updated: Jan 15, 2021
When I first started yoga, I just wanted to try a new workout and stretch out my body after sitting on a desk for a long time. It happened there was a yoga studio in the street I worked, so I just went there and took some classes.
I never understood people who were telling yoga „changed their lives“ and I wasn't into spirituality at all. All I wanted is toning up that body, shower and go home and I couldn't grasp how 90 minutes doing weird (but fun) things on a mat would ever change anything other in my life than my hamstring being more open.
Long story short – I sticked to it. I really liked it. I even did a YTT and started to share my practice. And these are the things yoga told me along the way (it's way more than handstanding or touching my toes).
1. The strongest version of you, is you being soft
In yoga and in life – we act and react better from a place of ease than always stressing and pushing forward. In a world that is all about no pain, no gain – we can easily never experience this at all. Yoga taught me on the mat. It was fun. But in life, it was magic ;-)
2. Letting go
From the first time I stepped into a yoga studio to now – I can definitely tell my life looks nothing but the same AT ALL (it's not only because of yoga of course, but it helped). I had to let go. A lot. Of things, of persons, of love, of realities, ideas or concepts that would no longer serve me and omy attachment to the idea of what life should look like.
While in yoga, we realease our bodies, muscles and tissues and allow tension to leave us, we can apply this in other parts of our lives too. You don't know what you can do until you do. And that's a very powerful yoga lesson.
3. Feeling at home
If you read my other posts, you might realize I am bit of a gipsy and have to move around and live at different places all the time. For me, home is not attached to a physical place, but we all need to ground down sometimes.
Thats what yoga does for me. I need nothing but my body to tap into something familiar that makes me feel like home and re-connects me to myself and my body nomatter where I am. I practiced yoga on a rooftop in Bogota, on beautiful beaches or snowy cabins…but also in my friends living room when I had no place to go and was sleeping on her couch. It worked everywhere by making me feel safe and grounded.
This might sound stupid, I mean everyone can breathe right ? Yes, so everyone can do yoga too ;-) learning to own my breathe helps me all the time, especially in situation where I feel tension or stress.
Our natural reaction is to shorten our breathe in these moments – which usually creates even more stress and tension and doesn't really cause Things usually work better WITH oxigen.
If you're Aware of your breathe – you kind of own your reaction to stress – in other words, calm down faster and focus better.
5. Accepting my body (at least a bit more)
I m sure most of my female (and maybe also male) readers have experienced issues with their body image at least once in their lives (lucky you if you don't). I did for sure.
But actually feeling my body and having it helping me to achieve all these poses and to feel good at least on my mat really helped me to accept it better over time. I kind of wanted to take care of my body in order to practice all these things cause I knew they will leave me feeling much better and more energized.
Even in the times when it didn't work out as well as in others, I had to focus on how things FEEL like not, on what things LOOKED (or what I thought they should or should not look like) for at least 1 hour of my day and to really connect with myself. Which makes me think of why we do not treat ourselves this way the other 23 hours left ?
Of course, it's a journey and not the easiest kind of them and I am probably not there yet, so maybe one day I will do a post about the shit we do not talk about… for now, I can tell yoga "saved" me a lot of times.
6. Play more
As we grow up, everything we do has to be „useful“ or to serve a purpose. We treat the most things as means and not as ends. and when we have enoug of being "useful" we usually choose something to numb us down or "have some fun" to disconnect us from our true feelings.
We just forgot than none of this will really make us happy.
Your mat is a safe space to explore and play again. And that's where creativity is born. And creativity is awesome. I dont know if I would be writing this or if I would have done or experienced a bunch of other things I did without giving myself some headspace from time to time and allow myself to just "do what feels good" and reconnecting with myself without all the noises and distractions every once in a while.
„when you fall out, you can always come back“ – I've heard this countless times on my mat. And it works in "real" life too. In fact – we never know what will happen, but also, in 99% of all cases (maybe not for base jumping or swimming with sharks) making a mistake will not have that much of an impact on your life as you think it will or at least not one you cannot correct (or that turns out to be better anyways).
Yoga can teach you to trust yourself. Not in a way that you can achieve everything but rather in a way that you can find ways through everything (yes, life does that too sometimes, but a bit of namaste here and there really helps, trust me ).
8. Showing up
I am totally the kind of person that would put all her stuff in bag, book a flight to a remote island and tell you things are stupid when things do not go my way instantly because guess what – I am really impatient (also fairly impulsive and fearless enough).
Weird trait for a yoga teacher ? well, let's say I got to learn how to deal with that somewhere.
If you want to achieve or really understand something, you got to show up. You got to stick to it and practice. There are no shortcuts, which doesn't mean the road has to be boring or painful.
I learned this through yoga. I learned to calm my mind and to bring myself into a place from where I could really work on things. To see life as a path and the process as something fun and to not be focused on end goals all the time (or on something like "time" cause lets be honest - it will pass anyways). It helped me to understand that it's worth sticking to things sometimes and that your intuition will usually let you know which things!
Turns out that when I found ways to make the process fun, (surprise) I didn't quit that fast anymore. And turns out that once I reached the end goal, sometimes it wasn't even as important to me as all the stuff I got to do and think about along the way. More often than not, I ended up in a place way better than the end goal ever was!
Even when some things seems hard – you can always (really...) take a deep breath – and show up again. It works in yoga but it works on a much larger scale in life.
9. Be flexible
Yes, your body becomes way more flexible over time and it's great fun and you can take awesome shots for instagram. But your mind becomes more flexible too and that's just as awesome and often times prevents you from being an asshole or missing out on great stuff.
I learned to go with the flow more and let life surprise me (well, life does love to surprise me anyways, but I learned to run with it through yoga more than through anything else).
10. Never stop learning
When it comes to the points on this list – please don't think I have my shit together on all of them. There are days I struggle … like everyone some points are easier, some are harder.
We are forever learning and practicing and forever observing where our thoughts and feelings take us. We have setbacks and sometimes we suck. That's human, that's normal and sometimes it's intersting or even lovable too.
And I don't know about you - but without all of this, life would be pretty boring I think !
Finally, all I mentioned here has the power to bring you into poses like a handstand. Or a king pigeon. Or doing full splits. And it will feel awesome and fun once you got them. Let's be honest, I love it too.
But there is always more to yoga. Cause maybe one day, you will lose your splits. Or handstands. But you will never lose the lessons yoga told you and we are mosty here to live our best lives – not to handstand on a tiny mat (but great thing it helps and great thing we can do both).