For the past year or so, I have really fallen in love with yoga. I’m committed to living a healthy lifestyle as best I can and am known to get stuck into a workout routine. I was heartbroken when running began causing pain to one of my knees. I didn’t know what other workout I could do that would give me the same satisfaction. Then I decided to give yoga another try. I took a class years before in high school and decided it was ultimately not for me. I didn’t feel like it was fast paced enough and it actually bored me. This all changed when I discovered Ali Kamenova’s YouTube channel featuring her interval yoga. It was challenging, fast paced, and a lot more my style. Now I practice multiple times a week, either at a studio or at home. As I have embarked on my yoga journey, it has been more of a mental challenge than anything. Here are 5 of the things I have learned that have altered my life:
1). You don’t have to compete with everyone on everything.
I have a horrible tendency to secretly compete with everyone on anything. It’s like Monica Geller style inside my mind. It’s partly due to my lack of self confidence and that fact that I have this dying desire to be the best at everything. However, as I’ve been practicing yoga, I’ve learned that it is not about competing to see who can do tree pose the longest. To me, it is about enjoying the moment of connecting with your body and mind in a way that you do not do throughout the day. I have been working hard to apply this concept throughout other aspects of my life.
2). “Everybody can do yoga, but not every body can do everything.”
I saw this quote online and it really impacted me. I know a lot of people who are hesitant to try yoga because they think they “don’t have the body for it” or “don’t think they’ll be good at it.” I know because I was there once. However, once you get over that thought, you realize your body can do some pretty remarkable things you never knew it could. You need to keep in mind though, that you’re not going to be able to do every pose as great as the others, and that’s OKAY. Every body is different and everyone has their own strengths- so find yours!
3). It’s an unexplainable joy to watch yourself progress
It’s a remarkable feeling when you conquer a pose that you never dreamed of being able to do. The moment I was able to do Crow Pose was freaking awesome. I worked so diligently to build up my core and arm strength and one class I just nailed it. It was a sense of self confidence that I sorely missed and try to apply in other parts of my life.
4). It’s not about how many calories you burn
I’m not sure if I consider myself a true “Yogi,” because of the fact that I was concerned about calorie burn during my workout. I wanted to know that this would be a good alternative to running and my body would transform into the pictures I saw on Pinterest of people doing yoga. Now that I have been practicing for awhile, it sounds ridiculous. Yes, I do practice for a workout and health benefits, but it’s also important I recognize the mental and internal progresses I have seen in my life.
5). Appreciate yourself for what you can do, not just how you look
This is probably my biggest struggle in life and it ties in with number three. I need to constantly remind myself that my worth is not judged by my physical appearance, but my strengths and what I am capable of. It is sad that someone’s worth is contemplated by their appearance. Yoga has indeed challenged by body physically, but it has also challenged my perseverance, strength, and patience.