By Lisa Frank, M.Ed., Wellness Counselor and Yoga Instructor
Yoga is often depicted in today’s society by women in tight colorful pants posing in twisted positions. However, this ancient practice offers as many benefits to our mental-emotional-social state as to our physical one. Yoga in Sanskrit means “union”, it is a way of living in conscious connection with all. All parts of us, all beings everywhere, all of the universe. A way of cultivating mind and body connection, deeper connection to one’s true Self, and connection with humanity. In a quest for belonging, acceptance, and meaning, yoga provides a way. Its rich teachings can be applied on the mat and perhaps more importantly can translate as lessons to help us be our more realized selves off the mat. Here is a toolbox of lessons to get you started.
Mat as Mirror
The mat is a mirror of self-discovery to help us become more conscious of what's happening in the new now. Pay attention to your breath and body in the present moment and you will become more self-aware and able to reflect yourself clearly to the world.
As we become more aware and connected to our true self a compassionate shift towards opening up to more love of what we see, feel, and observe may occur. Our essence is love and it is accessible to all.
Real balance moves beyond standing on one foot. To cultivate a balanced state of being play with opposite, yet complementary forces; stillness and action, strength and ease, give and receive, comfort and growth. Balance comes in playing the edge. Expand your comfort zone by taking healthy risks to inspire growth, while remaining safe and informed to not get injured. And don't be afraid to fall out of balance, when we fall we can get back up, release ego and gain wisdom.
Being able to touch your toes may or may not improve your life, but developing the ability to be flexible enough to change defeating behaviors and beliefs until you reach your goals will.
What do you want from your practice and how does it translate to your life? With clear intentions you practice and live with more meaning.
Compare and Despair
You can get hurt if you attempt to make your practice exactly like the person next to you. In the same way that trying to live someone else’s life or trying to look or be someone else hurts. We all have different bodies, experiences and abilities so practice in a way that is right for you. You are unique, so look to others for inspiration but not to judge yourself against.
Progress not Perfection
There is no perfect pose or perfect person. Perfectionism can lead to self-degradation and is not in harmony with self-love. When we practice yoga and life with compassion and kindness we see progress and shift happen without being attached to “perfect” results.
The bridge between mind and body, a relaxation technique, a vehicle into the now, the most priceless tool we have is our breath. Consciously take deep, slow diaphragmatic breaths to receive instantaneous positive health benefits.
When a student has a hard time with a pose in yoga support may come from the teacher, other students, or a prop. You can learn that when you want to achieve something in life you alone have to do it, but you do not have to do it alone.
Live Love, Love Life! Namaste!
To receive additional support in your yoga practice or your life come visit us at Miraval and sign up for a private Yoga/Meditation or Wellness Counseling Consult to get additional support with your personal life goals.