Hello beautiful people! Yoga has been such a transformative force in my life and overall development. I'm a strong advocate for bettering ourselves in other areas in our lives in order to continuously improve on our art + work. Also having other outlets to cope and express allows me to create from a place of joy rather than constant pain. Everything I learn and experience on the mat holds true in the outside world as well. That essentially is at the core of yoga- a connectedness in / to all things. The world itself means "union" in Sanskrit. I've done yoga challenges before but this was the longest one and in the shortest amount of time. Through practicing yoga consistently- I've come to know peace in ways I could've never imagined. I have been meditating on this all year because peace just didn't seem like a tangible reality to me growing up. Sharing these things I've learned hoping it reflects a peace that is possible for you, too:
1. If you can breathe through it, you can live through it.
There's one pose I had to straight up force myself to smile through in the beginning, otherwise I would be thinking about how much it sucked. lol. Everybody's favorite- "chaturanga dandasana". It is a low plank where your arms are bent 90 degrees and your body is parallel to the ground. The pose itself isn't too difficult but it is usually done with a sequence of other movements (sun salutations) and towards the end of your practice, and you've already done 20 of these... the burn is real. Comparing day 1 to day 90- the only difference is that my breathing got stronger. If I can make it to the next inhale / exhale... I'll be okay. What's great about doing timelapse videos is watching the 30 second replay of a 30 minute practice like... "that's it?" The challenges we face in the moment don't seem to hold much weight in the grand scheme of things. Next time you don't think you can make it through something... b r e a t h e.
2. Trust the process. Be consistent and do the work.
Too obvious? Too cliche? Then why are we still in a frantic rush to accomplish so many things and run ourselves dry to make them happen? And tackle on a crushing sense of failure, shame, and guilt while we're at it? Yoga is so humbling because you can always go deeper into a pose or discover more strength in it. The fun part about being bad at something, is that you can only get better (as my dear yogi friend Cinda would say). There were some poses I didn't think I could get into because of my body type / weight but those were just limitations I put on myself. The first time I felt confident and curious enough to try headstand I fell so clumsily all I could do was laugh about it. A deep, loud belly laugh at how silly I must've looked. I still fall out of balance with certain poses or can't go deep into them- but each time I practice I'm getting a little bit stronger / going a little bit deeper. (ha.) Fast forward to day 88 and a bee can go up into headstand without kicking up or wall support. 88 days. Not overnight. Not even in a month. And I still have a lot of work to do. All this to say- your success is already guaranteed. You don't need to rush or worry so much because you aren't living in it right this second. Do the work every day and watch it unfold as it will. The beautiful thing about headstand is that it taught me a lot about perspective. When your world is flipped upside-down, you can't hold on so tightly to your previous way of seeing things. It allows you to examine: are you still who you are- balanced and centered, when your head is to the ground and your feet are in the air?
3. Honor where you are. Every day is a new day.
To piggyback off of the previous ting (lesson? revelation?)... it's okay to not master something right away. Not only is it completely OKAY, it's natural. Especially in class settings, we may see people who are going into advanced poses and beat ourselves up over not being able to do them. You aren't seeing the totality of their experiences and what they've been through. And it's taking energy away from what your bodies are going through. Even when you are able to build strength in your practice, some days you might not be able to do what you did yesterday. Some days one side isn't as flexible as the other. Some days you just might not have the energy or capacity to practice. It took me 120 days to complete a 90 day yoga challenge because life fucking hiiiiiit in June. My priorities shifted and I wasn't able to commit to practicing every day. And that's okay. Which leads me to...
4. Rest is important.
At the end of every practice, we lay in "shavasana", corpse pose to receive all of the benefits from the energy generated throughout our practice. We surrender and allow ourselves to be fully supported by the Earth. Relax our hands, our feet, our eyes, our jaws, our shoulders, our breath. Being a femme trying to make it in the modern world... resting is not always a priority to me. I've learned to embrace this cycle more often. On a daily basis by getting adequate sleep but also by setting boundaries with my work. Constantly doing and moving isn't realistic for anybody. It's a lesson I'm still learning but every time I get out of shavasana I feel like a brand new bee. All my chakras aligned. Not a single care in the world. Peace, love and light for all beings everywhere!! No but fr though, rest is important. Allow yourself to be supported and not feel like you have to hold the burden of being too tightly.
5. Gratitude is everything.
Last but not least, gratitude. My relationship with my body completely changed through this challenge. After every practice I would hold my body and thank Her for being strong. For healing Herself. For carrying me through each and every single day. 90 days I have been able-bodied and healthy and nourished and energized. 90 days I had the freedom to choose to practice and pour into myself. Every day, when hundreds of thousands of people die and don't make it to see another sunrise... I'm still here. Every day I get to move, to touch, to love. That's everything.
Whether it's in your body, in your mind, in your heart, in your home- I hope you are able to make space for the things that you want. Know that you're worthy or receiving them.
All Praises Due,
Oh! And here's the link to the challenge on YouTube. Her name is Lesley Fightmaster and I love all of the little stories she shares. She's so optimistic. She remains so positive even while your whole body is on fire. Enjoy! YOGA FIX 90