First off, I just want to say a huge thank you for all the love and support I received after my last post! Your comments and messages meant the world to me and it was such a relief to have that post land so gently into your kind hands. To those who came forward and shared your own experiences, my heart goes out to you! Working to cultivate that sense of community around the topic of miscarriage is exactly the reason I stepped forward to tell my own story. I appreciate your encouragement and bravery more than you know!
Today I want to shift gears and talk about something a little different – Yoga. It’s been a hobby of mine for quite some time, but only this past year has it really become a passion. I always viewed it as a fun form of exercise, but was never able to commit to it as a part of my daily routine. When we moved to Seattle last spring, away from the solid support structure that I’d always known, I began to approach yoga from more of a self-care rather than a get-fit mindset. That shift in perspective made all the difference and suddenly yoga went from being a fun occasional workout to my daily dose of “me time” – a meditation of sorts. As I’ve dug deeper into to the practice, I found myself searching for ways to cary that amazing feeling of “centeredness” off the mat with me and into the rest of my life. I am at the very beginning of this journey myself, but these 5 lessons I learned from yoga have been so helpful in working towards my goal of living a more balanced and connected life that I couldn’t keep them to myself!
- Don’t Rush Transitions – I found my yoga practice really move to the next level when I finally realized the importance of transitions. Nailing the pose is great but how we move from one to the next reveals so much more about our strength and self control! Once I realized the importance of slowing down and being intentional through transitions on the mat, I noticed how much I was struggling to do it off the mat. It became so apparent how much of a habit I’ve made of rushing from one task to the next. Once place to the next. I have really been working on slowing down, especially through transitions because there is so much that life has to offer us in the “in-between”.
- Notice How You Feel – Once I started slowing down through transitions in yoga, I began to became more aware of how each pose made me feel. Noticing these little details really allowed me to get the most out of my yoga practice. The same is true for life. In order to get the most out of it, we need to discover what works for us and what doesn’t. What are the little triggers that cause us stress? What tiny moments throughout the day make us feel more alive? Once we take the time to notice these little clues our body is sending us, we can begin to make better choices and steer ourselves in a direction that allows us to get the most out of life.
- Breathe – If you’ve done any yoga at all, you know it is ALL about the breath. The “movement with breath” concept is one of the things that made me fall in love with the practice to begin with. I really connected with that aspect of it because I had discovered fairly early on ( way back to my dance and gymnastics years as a kid) how useful breathing into tight muscles was in terms of gaining flexibility. I trusted the breath and understood it’s value as a tool to move deeper into poses. Outside of yoga however, breathing through difficult situations is not something that comes naturally to me. One of the biggest pieces of advice mothers get is to ‘just breathe’, but for some reason this is something I only remember after I’ve already lost my cool. Now whenever I notice those little triggers going off, I try to stop what I’m doing and take a few deep, controlled breaths. It is truly amazing how well it works (when I remember to do it )…
- Balance – One of my favorite sayings in yoga is to ‘balance effort with ease’. That is what I want my life to look like – a beautiful dance between pushing myself just far enough outside of my comfort zone to find growth and relaxing into the place I am at in a way that feels graceful and free-flowing. Whenever I am feeling stressed or like life is just too heavy, I try to imagine what I would look like if I was balancing those two forces. It is such a helpful tool that allows me to refocus and find the places I need to push myself a little harder in order to find the calm.
- Just Do You – This is the one I have had hardest time putting into practice but the one that makes the biggest difference in how we show up to the world. When I first started my yoga journey, I kept my eyes glued the tv screen. I had no idea what it was supposed to look like so I had watch and learn. Little by little, I began to memorize the names of poses and develop a feel for the rhythm. As my confidence grew, I started experimenting with different variations of poses and I am now finding the freedom to continue on my own if I still feel the need to work out any kinks after the video has ended. I’ve slowly grown comfortable with ‘just being me’ on the yoga mat and now I am working on figuring out what it looks and feels like to “just do me” off the mat. It is such an exciting moment when I catch myself on the verge of holding back and then remind myself to just go for it, follow my gut and show up as me.
Yoga has really brought these lessons to light and helped put them into practice in a way I had never been able to do on my own. I can’t help but notice that a lot of these lessons really started sinking in around the same time I found the Yoga With Adrian channel. She has such a down-to-earth vibe that makes Yoga appealing to people of all skill sets. I highly encourage you to check it out, if have not already! Weather you are a yogi or not I believe these are great things to keep in mind if you are looking to move a little deeper and live a more centered and connect life.