Stress and anxiety are my two biggest struggles in life. I began practicing yoga to learn how to calm down during difficult times. Today I’m sharing the 5 things I’ve learned about myself from practicing yoga.
In November when my sister asked me to attend a hot yoga class I tried to come up with a million reasons why I couldn’t go. The thought of holding a sweaty pose in a hot room was far from appealing. Plus, I was really nervous. My total lack of physical activity in the last five years is borderline embarrassing and possibly dangerous. Needless to say I put on my big girl pants and I WENT TO HOT YOGA.
It’s hard to find the words to express how I felt after my first hot yoga class. Pride. Exhaustion. Gratification. Fulfillment. Nearly bursting with pride for surviving a 60 minute power flow in a sweaty room. I felt so good I immediately signed up for a class pass.
5 Things I’ve Learned about Myself from Practicing Yoga
I am strong.
If you asked me six months ago to describe my level of physical strength I would laugh in your face. Weak has always been a word associated with my name, especially since I repeatedly failed the physical fitness test in gym class. Despite my dancing abilities, I’ve just never been strong.
I am strong, a fact learned from practicing hot yoga. I can do arm balances and a head stand and a yoga push up. I’m 34 years old and finally able to say I am strong.
I have trouble SLOWING DOWN.
It’s no wonder I can’t remember anything with the way I rush through everything. Yoga has shown me how much trouble I have slowing down and is a constant reminder I have to find happiness in a pause. The final pose of any yoga class is one of deep restoration: Corpse Pose “Savasana.” It’s the hardest pose because it requires complete relaxation – mind, body, and soul.
The first time I laid in Savasana was life-changing. It’s incredible what happens when you slow down, not just your movements and to do list, but also your breathing. In my every day life I try to incorporate a few minutes of meditation and slow rhythmic deep breathing to calm my nerves.
I am afraid of failure.
The first time my instructor told me to let go and balance on my arms I laughed. Let go? BUT WHAT IF I FALL?? In that moment I admitted something: I am more afraid of failure than I am of success.
If I live my life avoiding instances in which I might fail, I may miss a positive opportunity. We all have the potential for a successful outcome but fear drives us away from even trying.
I love yoga.
As a former dancer, my body quickly found a familiarity in the fluid movements of yoga. My heart is joyful knowing I have a new love for an activity I’ve avoided for years. In the past, my yoga experience was dull, boring, and unsatisfying. But this yoga, these hot yoga classes, are truly life changing.
I am content with my life.
Sometimes we spend too much personal time mentally listing the things we want and need. All of those items – whether they are tangible or intangible – are meaningless if we can’t be happy with what we already have. Yoga has taught me that I am content with my life.