Thanks so much to Higher Existence for this wonderful infographic illustrating the benefits of mindfulness:
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!
Exercise as often as you can and keep that heart rate up for at least 20 minutes at a time. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing – aerobics, dancing, martial arts, heck – cleaning sometimes works – just make sure you’re moving!
With regular exercise, your body can actually heal eight times faster than normal! There is more oxygen circulating in your body during and after you sweat it out, so this helps your lymphatic system to remove toxins from your body and excrete them either through your skin (from sweating) or through waste.
If you have a little time, try to get outside and walk/run/jog. But if not, I love to look up fun YouTube videos to keep myself moving. Here are some of my favorite go-to videos:
Yoga – 20 minutes:
Yoga – 30 day challenge (Day 1):
Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred – Day 1:
I’m writing this post from Dallas, TX right now, as I have been here for the past few days visiting a friend, and taking a bit of time away from work. Traveling has always been a huge passion of mine, but it’s definitely a challenge to try to stay healthy on the road!
Here are 3 tips for what I do to try to stay healthy and happy while away from home:
1. Stock up on granola bars, trail mix, vitamins, and anything that can fit on a plane that you can snack on throughout your trip. This way you don’t find yourself starving at dinner, and you decide to get that cream-based soup, or a side of french fries instead of a salad.
2. Take time in the morning for a bit of yoga, stretching or breathing exercises. Just like when you’re at home and you have a morning routine, take time to establish a short routine of your own.
3. Go for a walk. In my opinion, going for a nice, long walk is the best way to stretch your legs after a plane ride and to enjoy and explore a new city or neighborhood. You never know what you’ll find!
“Yoga is not about touching your toes. it’s about unlocking your ideas about what you want, where you think you can go & what you will achieve when you get there.” -cyndi lee
Yoga has been the main constant in my life recently, and as a 26-year-old in today’s economy, it’s been a bit of a struggle to try to determine what I want to do with life. Do I keep working where I’m working? Do I totally shift gears and try a different occupation? Do I go back to school for a masters? Or do I just move down south, live on a beach and relax for awhile? I know many others around this age are trying to discover who they are too. I’ve found that I keep on moving, keep on attending yoga classes, keep on finding inspiration, keep taking baby steps towards things I’m interested, and something is bound to happen.
My yoga practice tells me that anything is possible – it just takes a little time and dedication.