When people think of yoga, many picture a room of meditative, bendy, hippie-vegans sitting crossed-legged in a room. If you take a class, you’ll come to find there are a lot of options that range from a fast flow with intense heat to pure meditation and completely restorative. Each aid in finding the mind-body connection which then directly correlates to happiness and success in life.
The 200 hours of Baptiste Training (200 RYT) that I started in April is now complete. In addition to the hours and and written test, students are required to submit a two page paper on yoga prior to completion. Its been a sacrifice to get these hours complete in such short time, but having the practice part of my nearly everyday has helped to keep me centered with all the changes I have going on. Here are my thoughts on how yoga has positively changed my life and allowed me to incorporate the movements and self reflection in my everyday.
Yoga has been a part of my life since swimming in high school, but more recently has become a part of my daily routine. As I have said before, yoga is not about nailing that perfect handstand or feeling like you’re flying in bakasana. Yoga is a combination of physical, mental and spiritual strength through a personal merging of heat, drishti, uddiyana bandha, pranayama and a flow of purposeful asanas. I have come to be grateful of the solitude, serenity and strength I have gained the more I practice. Yoga has taught me that the practice is not what goes on between the four walls of the enclosed studio, with 30 sweaty bodies inches apart covered from head to toe in lululemon. It is about acceptance, breaking through barriers, knowing your edge and being imperfect.
Yoga has taught me…
Since I began to learn the flow of the practice, it was easy for me to rush to the next pose or feel frustrated when an instructor holds a few breaths too long in a Warrior pose. It is here I have learned patience and realize that rushing is hardly ever the solution, especially in this fast paced world. I know it may take me one day or one year to get into a specific asana, but I do know that it will someday be in my reach. Yoga is about letting go of ego. Sure, I have come to my mat to meditate, relieve stress and get a workout. Yet, how many times since the class began have I already looked to my neighbor or jealously admired a yogi’s perfected headstand from afar? I have come to realize that yoga does not award trophies or ribbons, and there is no competition. It allows you to just be as you are, who you are, with what you have. Perfection is non-existent. So, I am much more easily able to stop comparing myself to my educated co-workers, my athletic friends, or my attractive neighbor. I am only in control of myself. Through the ujjayi breathing, it has allowed me to sharpen my focus, allowing distractions to melt away from the mind. As I enter the balancing series, I have physically improved my stability through practice, but it also allows that to translate into my work-life balance. I have learned to say “no” to too many tasks at work, realize what friends are worth my company, and determine what makes me happy physically and emotionally. This can include a guiltless scoop of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Yoga grants me the opportunity to become more self-aware of my individual being and my connection to the universe. It opens me up to the world around me in further understanding that everyone is unique and we are all linked in someway or another. Those new to the Baptiste style practice may not expect the difficulty it encompasses with the combination of the heat and vinyasas. It has allowed me to challenge myself both in mind and body and push to my edge. That could be taking a modified version of a pose, or pushing to an advanced level. While this is true, it is also about knowing my limitations and when to gently sit back on my heels in balasana, even though nobody else will join me. I have come to realize that if I skip my typical routine, the world does not fall apart by trying it out a new way. Yoga reminds me that it is more than okay to fall and even more than okay to fail. Not trying at all is worse than attempting and failing.
The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I will never grow and reach my potential unless I push myself and learn from previous flawed attempts. My mat has become my home, my safety net, but also at times, my worst enemy. I’ve accepted it. It has taught me not to take things so seriously and have fun. I am more okay with smiling and laughing, even during tough times. In my vinyasas and in my life, I will do things with a purpose. The purpose is determined by me and guides me where I will go.
Yoga is much more than the perfected Instagram photos that probably took 12 attempts to get the right lighting. It is a flow of progression, successes and failures that tie in directly to life.
If you have any questions on getting started or why you should consider in the first place, please feel free to contact me.