This reminds me of a great quote by Lao Tsu:
“Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”
And there is also a great TED Talk about teaching your mind to think positively, to set up small goals, and to request the help of others throughout life – it is proven to help you live longer!
I used to hate having to do cobra pose – it was a weird transition during vinyasas and wasn’t as seen as being as “challenging” as upward-facing dog. It felt awkward, and like I wasn’t quite doing it right. But it’s got a lot of benefits for your body – including spine strengthening, firming that booty, opening your heart (physically AND mentally!), stimulating those abdominal organs (hello metabolism!) and helping to prevent stress and fatigue.
I’m not gonna lie, now I smile a little whenever I do cobra pose – it’s kinda fun, and I know how great it is for me! I’m hoping to find the benefits of a few more of my least-favorite poses in the next coming weeks – that way I can look forward to those a bit more too 🙂
What are some of your least favorite yoga poses? (C’mon – we all have them!)
“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self” -The Bhagavad Gita
Journey of the Self, through the Self
It is your individualized journey through yoga and through life, where every day is a little different, good or bad. When you take a little time to savor where you are in your journey – to be present in the moment – you allow yourself just a little time to better understand yourself and your own individual journey. I picture it like this: we’re all on little paths in the woods, no one really knows where they’re going next, who they’re going to run into, or what obstacles lay ahead. Everyone remembers the twigs they stepped over, the hills they’ve climbed, the rocks they stubbed their toes on. And every once in awhile, you are given an opportunity to climb a tree and take a look at where you currently are. Where in the woods are you right now, and how does your mind and body feel about it?
Journey to the Self
Every time you’re able to climb a tree, you get a little glimpse of who you are – and where you want to go. You’re able to stop this crazy thing called life, for just a milli-second, and learn more about YOU. That’s the most liberating thing of all. You continue to find yourself and your calling, and you continue to learn what truly makes you happy. So take a little time to do a little yoga (or meditate!) in order to take a little journey.
The pose begins when you want to leave it. This has been so true for me recently! When having to hold poses, and your mind kicks in telling you, “OMG! I cannot hold this forever! Ugh, this is so hard! I’m going to fall over!” is the the absolute perfect time to calm yourself and say, “I can do this – it will end soon”. And it always does. And that is one of the powerful and exciting things about yoga 🙂
Yoga teaches us to live in the present. Living in the present helps to add life (and adventure) to your years – and keeps you healthy for so much longer – effectively adding years to your life!
There’s something so fulfilling about completing yoga practice each day with an inspired mindset – I feel more connected to my body, am proud of what it accomplished, and am always a bit in awe how it is just a little different every day. Perhaps balance poses are harder than normal one day, or a hamstring just doesn’t want to stretch the next – but there is beauty in knowing that tomorrow could be an awesome day, and I could finally connect the dots and just rock camel pose! Who hasn’t been a little bit excited when a pose all of a sudden clicks for you, and you realize – both mentally and physically – that something you’ve been working towards, finally comes to be? It’s a pretty incredible notion, and one that spans beyond yoga.
It teaches me to work hard every day towards small goals, which will eventually lead me to small inspirations. If today isn’t my day at work, I know that there’s always tomorrow. Mentally and physically, I can tackle anything – and that includes a little adventure once in a while 🙂
Yoga is a powerful vehicle for change. As you build strength, you start to believe in your own potential.
This is one of my favorite things about yoga – it is so inspiring. Both for helping you to find your inner piece, goals and to believe in yourself! I have learned so much about myself through practicing yoga – something that I never really found through running and biking. Not that running and biking are bad, they’re still GREAT forms of exercise, they just don’t seem to have the spiritual and inspirational potential that yoga seems to have.
What is one of your favorite things about Yoga?
Enjoying the present is one of the hardest things to do – especially when busy! Yoga is one of the best ways to take a step back from your daily plans, from re-living the past in your head and to just focus on yourself, the mat, and your present situation. Even if it is just 20 minutes a day, using a Youtube video, it really helps me to focus and to feel my very best the rest of the day.
Another great way to live in the present (that I have found!) is to travel. Experiencing new places, people and lifestyles really seems to put your mind smack-dab in the present – which – again – one of the best ways to experience life!
Though it seems more expensive these days to eat healthy – it really does seem worth spending a little extra to eat food that makes you feel better! Over time, my body is so much happier if I spend a little more for organic veggies, fresh juice and gluten-free breads than I ever did trying to eat on a budget in college…
“it is health that is real wealth, not pieces of gold & silver” – mahatma gandhi
It’s not enough to keep yourself healthy, you must have the support of loved ones as well – and it’s even better if they share in your healthy lifestyle. That’s a heck of a lot to be grateful for!
I have a wonderful family, friends, and was fortunate to grow up in a loving home. Every day, I try to thank whatever spirit is above for all that I’ve been given in this life. I’m truly lucky, truly grateful, and for that, truly happy! This is a great TED talk by David Steindl-Rast: Want to be Happy? Be Grateful.