11 Life Lessons I Learned From Yoga

by Stephanie on February 20, 2014

1. There is great peace in the present moment. // In the past, for me, there is a wish to rewrite it, which is impossible. In the future, for me, there can be fear. Right now, right here in the present moment, I am content, grateful and full of joy. Yoga taught me to dwell in that divine space.

2. Each moment we begin again. // The Buddhist in me learned about beginners mind, the yogini in me moved that knowledge into my heart and I took that off the mat into my world. I apply that thirst for expansion again and again during my day. I know I have a choice. I am in awe of our amazing bodies every day. I do not take that for granted.

3. It’s not about the pose. // There were no mirrors in yoga studios when I first starting taking classes. I like the studios that still honor this. Yoga taught me to appreciate that I can breathe and focus on this to be grounded and present even if I’m sitting in traffic. Yoga taught me that I can move, but that it’s not a competition. Yoga taught me to not look around the room. Whether or not I do Scorpion pose, I am doing yoga. I live yoga.

4. Yoga taught me how to be still. // I’ve always been very active. I learned that the whole reason to do yoga was to get to Savasana. It was twenty minutes at the end of class. No music. Just me. It was hard at first. That changed very quickly. I yearn for Savasana now. It breaks my heart that many studios only have five minutes at the end of class. I think they are short changing people.

5. It’s healthy to put yourself first. // Taking the time to take care of your self is healthy. The culture I grew up in taught me to put everyone else’s needs before my own. That was wrong. Yoga taught me self-love.

6. Love is more powerful than fear. // Whether it’s trying a new pose or learning to ask for what you want and need, it’s about abundance and self-love. Scarcity is toxic. Fear is crippling. You can choose love over fear.  Love is expansive and free.

7. Be comfortable in your own skin. // Yoga taught me how to appreciate my body. I can move easily. I am strong. I feel very comfortable naked in front of my mirror. I honor and respect the great gift of a healthy body, mind and spirit. I appreciate and take care of my unique soul and voice.

8. There is no right way. // Yoga has been around for thousands of years. Find a teacher you like. It’s kind of like dating. You may have to put some effort into finding one you like. I have my favorites, but it’s all yoga. Don’t limit yourself to any one style. Try different teachers. Try different styles. Discern for yourself what works for you. Don’t take it or yourself too seriously. It’s a joy to do yoga. If it doesn’t feel that way, try another teacher, studio, class or style.

9. Set an intention. // Daily positive affirmations work. Attainable goals are powerful. The universe responds to action. What you focus on you become. What are you focusing on? Are there toxic people in your life? Do you have a daily spiritual connection to a higher power? Do you have a plan? How do your desires make you feel? Self-inquiry is at the heart of daily yoga practice.

10. You get out of it what you put into it. // Only you know what you need to do that day to challenge yourself. A teacher can be a great guide, but yoga will teach you to listen to that small voice inside of you – your intuition. Trust it. Act on the wisdom that is inherently in you.

11. Change is good. // Every day it’s important to show up on your mat ready to grow. After a recent knee surgery, it was like starting again on day one. That’s ok. Day one changed my life. Every day I show up it’s like day one. I’m lucky that a “bad back” got me to yoga. My “pain” was the greatest gift. I went to yoga and felt better. I kept going. Thirty-four years later it’s been one of  the greatest loves of my life. It’s certainly been the greatest ride of my life.

There are many more things yoga has taught me, but eleven seemed like the right number today. I hope your day included some yoga.

Namaste ~ Stephanie

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Tamerie Shriver February 20, 2014 at 6:50 pm

Yea! I finally was able to subscribe to your site. Loved the 11 lessons. All are wonderful and I resonate with all of them. I was going to tweet it but you follow my ‘other’ twitter account (SewTamerie) and not TamerieShriver, which is the one I use every day.

Yoga was great this morning! And the dolphin were out! Perfect start to a perfect day!

xo

Mark McCullough February 21, 2014 at 8:59 pm

My sentiments exactly. I have felt everything mentioned but was unable to articulate as such. Thanks for all you do and keep the knowledge coming:-)

Stephanie February 21, 2014 at 9:33 pm

thanks so much for taking the time to respond. would love it if you could guest post sometime…. we’ll talk. i’ll follow your other Twitter now — Namaste

Stephanie February 21, 2014 at 9:42 pm

thanks for reaching out Mark ~ it makes my day and inspires me to post more. thank you for that gift. namaste

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