Do you ever feel silly in a yoga class when you can’t do a posture?
Like, you’re in a class, and you’re told to balance on one leg while lifting your other leg up in the air, and then over to the side?
And you’re like… yeah, right – no way.
And, then you find yourself nervously laughing because you keep wobbling side to side.
It’s okay! I always tell my students to not take it so seriously. If you’re in a posture where you’re wobbling, or falling over, It’s okay to laugh.
It’s kind of symbolic to when we fall in life. We’re all going to fall sometimes, and maybe if we can learn to laugh on the mat, we can learn to laugh off of the mat in those tough moments, too.
Sometimes it’s not even about falling. It’s about keeping your cool when it’s really really tough.
Like, in Navasana – I always tell people to smile. It’s a posture that people dread the most.
Sometimes I think that if we always expect it to suck, it always will.
If we always expect to fall, then we probably will.
I always tell my students to smile because I can tell they’re struggling.
I always hear laughter in the room when I say that, but even if it’s a laugh of sarcasm, at least it takes the pressure off.
If you’re gonna go down, you might as well do it with a smile, right!
I get it. It can be intimidating going to a yoga class. When I walked into my first Ashtanga class, I was totally out of my league.
I have a background in gymnastics, so I’ve always been strong, but not really flexible. I’ve always been able to do backbends and backflips, but when I started yoga, I realized that gymnastics doesn’t equal flexibility.
In fact, I had a lot of scar tissue that made me tight and stiff. This created a lot of pain in my body when I started to stretch and release it.
I’m usually the advanced person in the room, but I was the beginner in this scenario. It was a vulnerable and humbling moment. I left that day totally judging myself, and made up all of these stories that people were judging me, too.
It’s crazy to think about how I drove myself insane with those stories.
At that time, I had a rock hard ego. I had no idea how to love myself, I would avoid admitting fault, or dealing with failures. I was always trying to compete and be better. I hated being wrong, missing out, and had a huge fear of uncertainty.
Brene Brown refers to this as your inner hustler.
That was 2009, and it’s taken me until now to really find freedom in my body and flexibility in my mind.
I remember the first time I did Marichyasana D in 2011. I thought it was totally impossible for me. That was a turning point for me in my life because I knew then that anything was possible.
Writing this shows me how far I’ve come, and how transforming yoga really is. I have been able to overcome many fears, but I still see them creep up in my mind. These are impressions and old mindsets that are ingrained (samskaras).
I still have work to do, but for the most part I’m able to kick my inner hustler to the curb.
Some days are easier than others.
I’ve definitely gone through yoga struggles where I kick and scream to the mat, or resist it all together.
But, If I stop practicing, or go through a week where I don’t make it to the mat, then I lose my flexibility fast, my whole upper body becomes tight because of stress, and my moods can completely drop into a depression.
There’s something bigger that I can’t explain that happens when I hop on the mat. I’m okay with the uncertainty. I’m okay not knowing because it feels like magic, and that’s all that matters.
I know that when I hop on the mat, I let go a little more.
When I hop on the mat, my truth awakens.
When I hop on the mat, my heart opens.
Each time I hop on the mat, I take a small step forward on my path.
Yoga really is the best therapy.
This is my YOGA why.
This is why my asana practice is the foundation of my spiritual practice. It’s not because of the postures, but because of what the postures do for me.
Whenever someone new comes into my Facebook group I always ask them why they love their yoga practice on the mat, and here are a few responses:
♥ I love how it helps me to relax, and I feel like a different person after I have done it.
♥ Yoga has transformed my life.
♥ Yoga has not only helped me lose weight, but also helped my balance, calms my pain, and anxiety.
♥ Yoga has helped me tremendously with my sciatica, neck, and ankle injury.
♥ I am a novice who loves the peace and strength I feel “trying” to do yoga.
♥ It’s been overwhelmingly positive for me in terms of thinking of myself as a strong person, both inside and out. I’m also constantly surprised at what our bodies are capable of given the right preparation and discipline.
♥ Yoga makes me stronger physically, mentally and spiritually. I Love it for all these reasons, and the fact that there’s always more to challenge me.
♥ Yoga is my rock for mental health, self love, and stability. It found me when I needed it the most in my life
You can see that the general themes of practicing postures are empowerment, inner peace, inner strength, calming anxiety, and releasing pain.
I want to hear your why. Why do you practice yoga? How has it changed you, and how do you feel when you don’t practice?
If you have wanted to practice yoga, but haven’t taken that leap yet, why not? What’s stopping you?
Let’s all have a discussion in the comments, or join my Facebook family!
To Believing In Magic,
PS. Want to start yoga right now? You can get your own custom practice in 10 days right here!