yoga

How Yoga Changes You

 

IMG_5718Recently I’ve become more aware of the journey of yoga students from the first class they ever take to their current class years later.  I’m in awe of the vast journey that they have gone through and how much they have changed over the course of their practice.  Here are three big ways that yoga changes you.

More Good, Less Bad

At this point we all know how good yoga is for us.  When we start to add good into our lives, we naturally let the bad fall out.  You might not even realize it happening.  It might start little by little with food choices. You took a yoga class, you’re feeling good and have that glow about you, now what will you have for lunch? You’re normal burger will make you feel down and tired so you opt for something more nutrient dense and green because you know that will keep your post yoga glow going strong.  You’ll start to notice the things in your life that make you feel good and the things that cause you pain.  As you become more aware of each, you’ll be more inclined to keep the good and clear the bad.

Community

A good yoga studio will have a thriving, supportive community that surrounds it.  I’ve made so many friends from yoga and we’ve got each other’s backs.  If you’re new to yoga or a studio, make new friends and become a part of that community.  Not only will it will hold you accountable to stay consistent with your practice, you’ll be surrounded by like-minded people who only want to see you grow.  Plus it’s pretty amazing to be able to talk to someone about the joys of Ayurveda or how you flew your first ever bakasana and have them totally understand what you’re talking about.

Confidence

Yoga will 100% build your confidence.  On a physical level, you’ll start to feel more graceful, stand a little taller and become more aware of you posture.  You’ll feel less stiff and will move with more ease and lightness.  Mentally, you’ll feel powerful in your own skin. You’ll become proud of who you are as an individual and the unique qualities only you have.  You’ll understand your breath and how you can use it to your advantage.  Your skin will look better (see number one) and you will remove the negative from your life leaving you to feel like the superwomen you always knew you were.

yoga

The poses don’t change, you do

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If you practice yoga long enough, you’ll begin to feel the magic of it all.  You’ll start to stand taller and friends will start to see this new glow that surrounds you.

You’ll attribute that glow to yoga, of course, and maybe a few green drinks.

On the surface, yoga looks simple. Warrior Twos, Down Dogs and Twists.  Each vinyasa class maintaining a similar flow, with nearly similar poses.  Every time you do a vinyasa or a full Sun Salutation, it’s the same exact thing. The same exact set of poses, one after another.  It might seem like you’d never learn anything new, never be able to test yourself if you have to follow the same movement patterns every single time.  And then you realize, oh, the poses are not different but I am different each time I do the poses.

Yesterday I was feeling frustrated in my balancing poses and today I’m as unflinching as the biggest boulder.

Yoga teaches us to enter the dark corners we try to avoid.  This causes me discomfort so I’m going to go around it.  Yoga makes you go through it. Yoga teaches you to say, “I don’t like this, I’m uncomfortable, but I’m going to work through it”. That’s when the magic happens. A candle is lit in that dark corner and that glow around you is already starting to grow.

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Be in this for the long haul

Change does not happen overnight. Change takes months of consistency and hard work. fullsizerenderYears of pushing yourself to your max and doing things even when you just don’t feel like it doing it. Nothing is easy and everything takes time.

We live in a world where we can get pretty much anything we want relatively fast. And it’s created this sense of urgency in everything we do.  We want to lose 10 pounds in 5 days.  We want to be able to do headstand after 1 week of practicing yoga.  Let me just tell you now, that life is not sustainable. It’s not real. The work and time has to be put in if you want long term success.  You could probably throw yourself up in a headstand after just a few yoga classes or drop a few pounds in a week but you wouldn’t have built the foundation it took to maintain that long term.  You would soon crumble down or throw yourself into a rut or worse, delay your progress because you did too much, too fast, and too soon.

It’s so beautiful though — when someone dedicates an appropriate amount of time to something and accomplishes it. Even more so to someone who has spent a whole year working towards it, grinding at it, relentless and determined.

When I fall in love with something, like yoga or lifting, I want to be able to do it for the rest of my life. So short term goals are fun but I’m in it for the long haul, I want to be able to do these things when I’m 70 years old. With that in mind, I set appropriate goals for myself, I listen to my body when it needs a break and I honor my edge.  I’m not scared to push myself but I respect that things take time. Foundation needs to be laid in order to build.

Build your foundation, trust your body and jump when it’s ready. You’ll know.