We have all heard of yoga. Whether we practice regularly, have taken a class or 2, or only know about yoga through television. It’s everywhere. It has become so mainstream, that often the beauty of the practice gets forgotten. So to help bring back that beautiful essence, I want to share with you, the 3 things I wish I had known about yoga. And hopefully this might change the practice for others.
Despite the roller coaster of my life, yoga has always been there. And my experience with the practice has changed drastically over the years. In the beginning, I used to do yoga, strictly for fitness and exercise. As a way to stay in shape, and push my body. I was always looking for the next challenging pose, while comparing myself to others in class. Endless striving to go a little deeper, and reach a little further. Yoga was stressful. It was anything but relaxing. I guess I never fully understood, or integrated, the mind-body connection.
After staying in ashrams in India, completing Yoga Teacher Training, and reading endless books on the practice. There was still lots I didn’t understand. So much depth that was missing from my practice. And after years of yoga, I guess that’s the point. Your learning never ends. In fact, my learning curve has been so slow and gradual, sometimes I felt like I was going backwards.
But as I continued to grow and strengthen my ideas of yoga, I noticed several themes that kept popping up. Stuff I thought I knew, but turned out to be incorrect. Things I wish I had known about yoga, and things that would’ve helped me actually enjoy my practice more.
Things I Wish I had Known about Yoga
It’s Not About the Poses
This has got to be one of the most important aspects of yoga. Despite what gyms, fitness gurus, and even some yoga instructors say. It is not all about the poses. It’s about feeling and connecting with your body. Right here. Right now. Doesn’t matter how many downward dogs you do. Or how many poses you can master. But how do you feel while doing them? Are you present, connected to your mind, body, and heart? Then you are doing yoga.
I used to believe that being good at yoga, meant mastering certain poses, or accomplishing certain feats. But if you’re not present, connected to your mind, body, heart, then it doesn’t matter how many poses you do. Or how good you are at them. The depth of a yoga practice is not dependent upon the depth of a pose, but the depth of heart. After all, you don’t take your poses with you out into the world, you take your mind, body, and heart.
It’s Not About Other People
It can be so tempting in yoga to look around, and see what everyone else is doing. Compare ourselves to others, and try to follow or mimic their movements. After all, no one wants to do something “wrong”, mess up, or embarrass themselves. But let me tell you. I have embarrassed myself enough in yoga classes, to go around for everyone. So, don’t worry about Suzy stretch, or Nancy know-it-all. They have their own yoga practice, and you have yours. Enjoy it, embrace it, and make it all your own.
It’s Not About the Time
The practice of yoga is not based on time. Whether you spend 60 minutes, or 6, do whatever works for you. There are days when I go to class, and get a full 60-minute yoga session. Then other days, where my practice lasts 2 minutes. If that. And that’s okay. Because every moment we are connected to our mind and body, is time well spent. So, don’t worry about how long your practice is, how long you can hold a pose, or how often you do yoga. Just do it.
Now the next time you are in a yoga class, following a video, or attempting yoga at home. Please remember, that whatever poses you do, whatever people are watching, and however long you practice- doesn’t matter. But the connection you build with yourself does!
Yoga Books I’ve Read That May Help You with Your practice