Yoga continually teaches me new things, about myself, about life, and the world around me. This is just one of the many reasons I like it so much. I like to reflect on how far I’ve come, see what I have learned over time from these experiences, and observe what new knowledge I have gained along the way.
Byodo-In Temple , located in Valley of the Temples. Oahu Hawaii.
A few things Yoga has taught me.
1. Honor your body
Don’t push your self too far past that edge. Its okay to push your self a little, but if you go to far past that boundary you can injure yourself. Your body will subtly let you know how far is too far. Its all about being mindful and listening to what your body has to tell you.
2. Let go of things that no longer serve you
This can be anything. It doesn’t have to be a physical object, although cleaning out that closet stuffed to the gills can feel cathartic. It can even something invisible such as anger. Every minute you spend angry, you give up 60 seconds of peace. Get rid of what you don’t need, physically and metaphysically.
We often forget all the benefits of breath. Aside from the fact that we need it to live, there are other benefits to the breath. It grounds us, and forces us to be in the present when we focus on it. It can help us overcome obstacles, think of lamaze breathing when a woman is in labor. I’ve even been able to get through what could otherwise have been a painful experience at doctor appointments, dental appointments, or even those few body piercings or tattoos just by focusing on my breath.
The breath is more powerful than you think, and there are even many types of “breaths” out there. To name a few in case you are curious, look up bhastrika, pranayama, Ujjayi, Shitali, Agni-Prasana, 3-breath practice, and 2-breath practice. I’m sure there’s others out there, in the vast yogic system. I’m always curious to learn and discover more. Feel free to comment if there’s any you want to share with me. 🙂 Our breath balances us and additionally helps us balance. I find this latter especially true when I focus on my breath and or a fixed point in those difficult poses where sometimes only one limb is touching the ground. Our breath fosters healing and allows us to extend our vital life force. Everything always comes back to the breath.
4. Be present and okay with it
Be present. Live in the here and now. Stop worrying about the future and the what-if’s. Don’t live in the past, and don’t dwell on the I should of’s. If you have trouble focusing on the present, your breath can guide you. Live in the present moment, and be content with it. Live like there is no tomorrow, be at peace, and be happy in that state. When you try to control everything, or worry about the future or the past, you won’t be able enjoy what’s right in front of you. Relax, breathe, let go and enjoy the present moment. Even life can subtly remind us to be present. For me the winter weather reminds me to turn inward, slow down, and make time for myself. Be like the Buddha on his lotus leaf under the bodhi tree living in the present moment.
5. You can achieve more than you think
Believe in your self. Sometimes we have to take risks in order to achieve our goals. Sure its scary, and may not be easy but no one ever said life was. We all have dreams, goals, hopes, wishes, and aspirations. Stop making excuses on why you can’t do them, and take baby steps to get there. We can all do more than we think, if we test our limits.
I wasn’t sure I could ever do crow pose, but knew I wanted to be able to “fly”. I was a little apprehensive but I didn’t let my fear stop me. Sure I fell on my head a few times in the learning phases, but as I discovered even someone who is a very seasoned yogi can have an off day and fall in an asana [pose] they have been practicing for years. We don’t always see everyone’s mistakes but we all make them. Eventually we end up where we are supposed to be and can achieve things we never thought possible.