How Yoga Changed My Life
Simply put. I was always the kid, up all day on Saturday's getting fit and active with FitTV in the den, working out with Gilad's Bodies in Motion on the beautiful beaches and any other fitness or yoga program that came on. Gilad's just happened to be my favorite, and this was how it would be for years.
Cardio, yoga, Pilates, you name it. I was determined to be fit, look as cheery as the lead chick working out, and keep up with these adults even though I was a kid.
I remember in my Seventeen magazines saving the fitness section, and one issue in particular had a yoga routine that I would do every night before bed.
I've always been deeply passionate about being fit and active, but I was also just as easily distracted when it came to being committed to fitness for the long haul. There was no issue with loving the idea of fitness, but let me miss a night, then that would turn into a weekend, and oh crap would you look at that?? Months have gone by!!
December 2013 was when I decided to take yoga seriously, learn more about it, and commit to it.
Well, that sort of happened. I joined my first yoga challenge on Instagram, and I learned quite a bit. I tracked some of my progress, things were going great. And then the distraction fairy flew in and I was more committed to my workouts in the gym and kind of put yoga on the side. Sparing you my yoga journey story, I found my way back to yoga more consistently, and now I want to just share how yoga has changed my life.
[psst.. I've been fumbling with the Instagram embed code for entirely too long now, and it just won't work. So you can see photos from my first yoga Instagram challenge here... back to our regularly scheduled post.]
Yoga taught me to really breathe
Before yoga, life felt like it moved at a faster pace than the earth itself spinning on it's axis. It probably wasn't until my first Savasana, or corpse pose, was when I finally felt the world sit… still. Being aware of my breathe for my entire practice was something entirely new to me, and I felt in control - at ease. It's incredible. Then in Savasana, which uses a more natural breath, and a time to fully let go, I can't describe where my mind goes, and maybe I don't really know. But understanding my breathing, and where that can take me has allowed me to control when I want to slow my world down a bit.
I learned to set daily intentions
I hope that you are blessed with an amazing yoga teacher if you ever go to a class. Being reminded to set your intentions at the beginning of the class is a beautiful thing. It takes your mind off the madness of your day, and brings awareness to the real reason you decided to step onto your mat. It's not to hide, or to even do something forced, but to commit to something greater than yourself. Yoga has taught me that it's ok to be this intentional in my everyday life. I can wake up, take a deep breathe, and reflect on how I want my day to go, and remind myself of that intention throughout the day to not lose focus.
Yoga helped me take a step back
In yoga, it's important to practice at your own pace. Yoga is not a competition, race, or a destination, but a journey, just like life. Sometimes, it's easy to question why things aren't going a certain way, or why life isn't matching up like someone else's but that's great because it's not freaking supposed to! Your life is yours, just like your practice, and no one is judging you for that. Yoga has taught me to step back and appreciate where I am.
Typically towards the end of my practice, I reflect on what I am grateful for. And it's always laying right there on my mat. I'm blessed to be surrounded by other hot and sticky bodies who have all dedicated their time to a higher purpose. I'm always grateful for what I allowed myself to do in my practice, whether I'm in class or alone. I always get so much more out of yoga than what I expect going on. And what's even more beautiful, is I don't have to just be grateful on my mat, but anywhere else.
Yoga has taught me to be more intentional about my actions and what I have control over. Happiness is a choice, and it can be tough to get there, but everyday I choose to take a step in that direction. Have you tried yoga or another practice that has been life changing for you? Tell me about it in the comments or on Twitter, I really want to know! Namaste.