Yoga, as they say, is a practice. It’s not so much about what you can do and getting it right, but how the work affects you and who you become along the way. It’s challenging yourself without pushing beyond your own reasonable physical limits. Predictably, being ego driven human beings we all want to advance. But the key is to do so while mindfully exploring both your thoughts and your body; deepening your understanding with your abilities… and of course, to simply practice.

There are days when I am truly reluctant to get on the mat, but I’m always happier, calmer and infinitely grateful when I do. Part of this has to do with the intention I set before practice begins. After unrolling the mat, I always take a moment to ground and center and reflect on what’s going on in my life; inevitably this shows up in my body. Where am I being inflexible? Where am I stuck? What am I afraid to let go of? Where could I use more balance? Where am I pushing too hard? I never have the answers before practice, but this inevitably comes out  – just not all at once 🙂

Often times I have used my finger to “write” my intention on my mat; usually around a specific issue that is troubling me at the time. It may be something like …breakthrough barriers ..and that’s usually a tough class! Or shift in thoughts or awareness, allowing more flow, or simply …. ease. Inevitably, the instructor says several things that seem to apply exactly to me. As my body frees up so does my mind. There are new thoughts, new awarenesses, new ideas and inspirations. Today, after finishing another amazingly insightful practice I thought I’d share some of the biggest awarenesses here.

Here are some of the lessons I’ve Learned from yoga so far:

1. When things get tough, pause, breathe, recommit and see if you can go deeper. You’re safe. Keep moving…don’t just push harder.

2. Repetition and persistence overcomes fear and obstacles, not just sheer will and brute force.

3. Life (both on and off the mat) is full of drama – some real some made up in our heads. Ride out the highs and the lows. It’ll all be okay.

 4. Being off balance doesn’t mean that you’ll never find it, it just means that you’re working on it. Be patient with yourself while you build the strength and find your own way.

5. Sometimes it’s okay to be perfectly still. Being still on the outside doesn’t mean nothing is happening on the inside. The reverse is also true.

6. Move when it’s time to move, once you are grounded and ready – not out of anxiety, because you have something to prove or because you are simply bored; that will surely throw off your balance.

7. We all need to return to that child state every once in a while – curled up, face down or happily on our backs, legs in the air! Both are equally valuable and have their time and place.

8. Just because someone else makes it look easy, doesn’t mean it is! We all have our own path in our own time.

Yoga continues to change my life in miraculous ways. Every practice is different and filled with new awarenesses and insights. Some days are tough and others pure magical bliss! If you can’t get to a yoga class or it’s simply not your thing, consider applying these mindful principles to the areas of your life that need the healing and love the most. You’ll be glad you did.