5 Lessons Learned from Yoga

5 Lessons Learned from Yoga
I’ve been taking yoga for 2 years now. If you’ve never taken yoga before, I highly recommend that you give it a try. You don’t have to be the thinnest, most fit, most flexible person to do it. Everyone is capable of practicing yoga, and every pose can be adapted to meet your body’s needs.
I’ve learned a lot in the past 2 years and continue to learn even more. This past week, my yoga teacher talked about the connections between yoga and nature. Between the names of the poses as well as the natural stretching of our bodies, the connection is subtle, but it’s there.
Here are a few things that yoga has taught me.
1. Breathe
This was my first lesson. You don’t realize at first that when you concentrate on holding a pose, you often hold your breath. My yoga instructor often tells us, “Enjoy your breath.” And that’s when it hits me. Oh, yeah, I’m holding my breath.
Learning not to hold our breath in yoga helps us learn to not hold our breath in life. When you’re stressed, tired, anxious or nervous, that’s a good time to focus on your breathing.
2. Honor Your Body
From day to day, our bodies change. One day, we can be stiff from working in our yard the previous day and the next day we can be well rested. One of the mantras of yoga is, “Honor your body.” Yoga is not supposed to hurt, so if you’re doing something that’s hurting, you should stop. Honor your body.
We only have one body, so we need to take good care of it. From what we put into our bodies to what we apply onto our bodies, it needs to be good for us. Our bodies need exercise and rest in order to function well.
Aging is no joke, and I’m not the athletic person I was in my youth. I need to honor my body by not pushing myself to do something my body is no longer able to do.
3. Live in the Moment
It is important to focus on what you are doing at the time and leave the distractions for another time. Easier said than done, right? Practicing yoga is a good way to force you to live in the moment. In a yoga classroom, all phones are off and it’s you, the mat and others in the room. These days, I practice yoga at home with a live feed from a yoga studio. It’s challenging, but I do my best to focus on yoga and not the clothes that need to be folded and put away or the dusty furniture that needs to be cleaned. The mental effort it takes to live in the moment during yoga has its rewards and makes me want to live in the moment in everything happening in my life.
4. Everyone’s Body is Different
Not flexible? Me either, but that will come in time as you continue to practice. Don’t let your body condition interfere with your ability to do something for yourself.
Can’t run like you used to? That doesn’t mean you can’t move. Walk instead. You’re still moving and using your muscles. Do what works for your body.
5. Balance Takes Practice
Our ability to balance drops off with age. As I age, I want to maintain an active lifestyle as long as I can. That means, I need to be deliberate in maintaining fitness and balance throughout my life. It will no longer come naturally. I will have to work at it.
Balance is important in all things, not just our physical sense. Do you work toward having a healthy work-life balance? Holding a balance yoga pose is a great reminder to work on balance in all aspects of our lives.
Whether you’ve been practicing yoga for years or have yet to take a class, I highly recommend it. You’ll gain in all aspects of your life.

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