Yoga Life lessons learned from last nights class.
1. Early bird gets the worm. Getting up super early to go sweat your bad decisions and mood off may be annoying at the time, but is oh-so rewarding after. Traffic is non-existent, classes are empty and it’s a great way to kick your metabolism and thoughts into gear – so when you accidentally eat an entire candy bar for lunch later on there is no self-judgement. Ok, well not no self-judgement, probably less. Plus – nothing can creep into your day to keep you from not going – you already went!
2. Dont take yourself too seriously. I had no idea how serious I was being while practicing. Last night’s class was funny, silly, loud and completely not what I expected. Yoga is all about letting go of all judgement and expectations, and really letting your soul and heart melt into a peaceful state. (or at least that’s what I’ve told myself it’s all about). So imagine my surprise when funny, light-hearted ‘ol me is starting to get secretly annoyed at how funny and light-hearted this serious yoga class was suppose to be. Self? Is that really you? Talk about irony. Turns out I’m a bit stern in class. For the first 5 minutes I was getting so annoyed we weren’t listening to slow, calming, meditation like music. I was getting frustrated that the room wasn’t quiet, and people weren’t extremely focused on their movements and their postures. Then slowly, I started to realize how crazy I was being, and how I wanted to smile, and laugh and enjoy this very unique class along with everyone else. It was okay to be silly in something I always considered so serious. Ok self. That’s more like it.
3. Being lazy sometimes is okay. If you’ve had a few too many delicious adult beverages the night before, and you go to yoga in the morning, you may hate life (turns out hangovers suck when you’re at the ripe ol age of 30). Don’t get me wrong, once in a great while it does feel good to sweat out those beers and shots that made you feel invincible the night before – but most often it’s a really bad decision. Plus – is it really that fair to your fellow yogis to have them gagging over your sweaty pours that reek of whiskey? If you do go, it’s okay to not be your amazing, rock-star, strong yoga self every.darn.class. Go into childs pose more, maybe take a knee when available – be lazy on your mat. It’s your practice. It’s your life. Do what you want. Being lazy or what they call “listening to your body” is okay.
4. Surprise yourself. Sometimes when the inversions or poses get hard, I stop and look around, sip water, and “ooh” and “ahh” in my head about how great everyone in class looks. Like I’m 5 and afraid to jump into the pool or something. So instead I just watch the swimmers pass me by. Who cares if you drown right? Jump in already! (but make sure you know how to at least doggie paddle first, duh) Thanks to an overly enthusiastic teacher , I tried moves, inversions, poses and postures I would never have dreamed of before (mainly due to my huge fear of flailing my sweaty and awkward body onto an innocent yogi) and guess what – I surprised myself! Sure I probably looked foolish, made people near me nervous and may have made some inappropriate groaning noises, but I was closer to doing those new things than I ever was before, had I not tried. What’s the worst that can happen? Oh yeah. You can flail your sweaty and awkward body onto an innocent yogi. Shoot. Well – just hope that doesnt’ happen. Hope that you end up surprising yourself instead.
5. Let yourself go. Let your judgement go. Let your expectations of your class, yourself, and of others go. Holding a grudge over something in a close relationship? Let it go. Mad at yourself that you couldn’t do that birds of paradise inversion moments ago? Let it go. Frustrated about what happened at work? Let it go. Yoga is about the now. Not yesterday. Not later. The. right. now. So let everything go – and just be.
6. Smile more. I noticed a few people smiling when we were doing really intense moves, and honestly, thought they looked kind of crazy. Like who smiles when they are in pain and are really sucking at something? Oh wait. You’re smiling because it makes it easier? You’re smiling in the hopes that it will lighten your own mood? You’re smiling because you are anticipating it will encourage others to smile too? Oh I get it. Ok. Let me try this. Wow…there we go. I am smiling, and trying moves I’ve never had the guts to even attempt before. Smile more. It always helps.
7. Enjoy the music. It’s so incredible to me how much music really affects our state – what we think, feel, experience. Let your body move to the staccato-like beats, allow your heart to melt into the rhythms of the chorus and just enjoy the ride. Music can guide us through up and downs, bring back people, places, things instantly into our head and encourage us to keep going when the going gets tough – or when there’s absolutely no way in hell you can possibly attempt that crow pose right now. Enjoy the music – let it be your friend.
8. Give yourself more credit. You are at yoga. You’re doing more than anyone sitting at home is doing. You’re incredible!
9. This isn’t a competition. Not with yourself, with other yogis – or even with your mind vs your body. This is a different experience for everyone. Flaws, imperfections, judgements and all. Let the competitiveness go and just be who you are and do what you were meant to do.
10. Breathe. It’s the most important thing. It can ground us, calm us, and remind us to be present.
To me, the best part of yoga sometimes is the drive home. (crazy I know) I smile at everything I accomplished or didn’t accomplish on the mat, and all the lessons I just learned in