3 Things I Wish I Had Known About Yoga

 

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!

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24 thoughts on “3 Things I Wish I Had Known About Yoga

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  1. I love yoga. It’s been so important to me for so many years. I really can’t overstate how many benefits it brings me.

    And still I find I let it slide sometimes. :/

    1. I hear you, I love yoga as well, and even as an instructor, I forget it and let it go sometimes. We’re human, we often forget what is good for us 😉

  2. I’d love to try yoga but I don’t think I’d enjoy going to classes! Maybe I’ll start at home first. Great post and thanks for sharing 😊

  3. You’re so right! I used to do yoga and was actually pretty good at the poses (grew up as a dancer and had decent balance/body awareness) but was TERRIBLE at being present! I feel like it’s time to try again – even though this time I’m pretty sure I’d be WAY worse at the poses 😉

    1. Yes you should definitely try again, especially if you’re already familiar with balancing, body awareness.etc. Now you’ll get to bring your mind into it 😉

  4. I’ve been really considering starting a yoga class or even pilates but I am honestly so caught up in others around me and my body image… it’s so terrible. One thing I am working on for sure is only focusing on myself! Loved this post and your 3 reasons were everything I needed to muster up some kind of courage to actually want to put my plans in action!

    -Keiana
    Most recent on the blog: https://reticentheartblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/17/celebrating-your-birthday-without-you/

  5. I loved bed reading this!!! I’ve thought about starting but worried about doing it “right ” but now you’ve motivated me to get out there and try 🙂

  6. I have to laugh because so many people think it’s about the poses. So many people think that they can’t do it, because they aren’t skinny or flexible. I used to skip it because I thought it wasn’t a “real” workout. I have learned based on the class like a multi level class can give me just as good a workout as cardio for 30 minutes.

  7. I haven’t tried yoga yet, although I feel like it might be very enriching for my soul and body. Im trying to learn how to be connected to it through mindfulness so far, but your article is a motivation to finally start with it! Thank you! ❤ 👣

    1. Yes it will definitely help with mindfulness. Yoga is usually when I am most mindful, as long as I’m not worrying about my body, the poses, other people.etc.

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