6 things yoga has taught me about life


As many of you know, practicing yoga is a big part of my life. It’s something I not only enjoy doing but also need in my life. Being on the road, yoga is not the easiest to practice. Sure, I can do yoga on my own and do some yoga moves (all I really need is an open space), but practicing yoga is beyond the physical movement. I’ve gained so much from yoga classes, beyond the physical and mental strength. The things that I’ve learned in yoga have made some things in life easier to understand. Being in one city for 2+ weeks now, I’ve had a chance to squeeze in a few classes and started thinking about how yoga classes have helped me change my attitude towards life. Here are top 6 things I’ve learned from my yoga practices so far:

1) If you let your ego get in the way and push yourself to impress others, you’ll just end up hurting yourself. If you are forcing your leg to stretch out further because you want to show off to the rest of the class how good you are, you are going to hurt yourself. If you are working hard and pushing yourself to show off to others and aren’t listening to your own needs, you’ll end up harming nobody else but you and your own happiness.

2) You cannot grow and be comfortable at the same time because growing requires you to get out of your comfort zone. Doing a yoga move, stretching out your hamstrings, holding your chaturanga; these are all really uncomfortable but you know it will make you stronger and more flexible. If you want to grow, you need to get out of your comfort zone. And if you keep pushing yourself a little by little, there’s nothing you can’t do.

3) Learn to appreciate the opportunity to do nothing. Sometimes, laying in shavasna can be uneasy and stressful. That’s because your mind is rushing and telling you all the things you have to do. It’s our fear of missing out, our constant need to achieve something. But, it’s ok to take a break once in a while and let yourself do nothing. And when you are given the opportunity to do nothing at all, take it and enjoy it. Everything will still be the same.

4) You might not be able to achieve it today, but you might tomorrow. It’s ok to not be able to do that hand stand today. It’s ok if crow pose isn’t working for you today. It’s ok if you didn’t get everything on your list done today. It’s ok… just try again tomorrow.

5) Each move has a purpose, don’t rush to get to the final pose. The reason I love vinyasa is because one move flows to the other and preps you to get to the final pose, just like how life comes in steps and you need to take it a step at a time. Enjoy the ride, don’t rush and you’ll perfect that final pose.

6) Don’t forget to breath. When you are doing a difficult move, you’ll realize you are holding your breath. I do that often until I remember to breathe. Not breathing is just making it harder for yourself. If you surrender to the pose and remember to do the most basic and fundamental thing, such as breathing, the pose becomes so much easier. When you are stressed, faced with challenges, and are frustrated, just breathe. It’s already happening, don’t make it harder on yourself.

Dose of Inspiration: Growing requires you to get out of your comfort zone.

You cannot grow and be comfortable at the same time because growing requires you to get out of your comfort zone.
I get a lot of inspiration from my yoga classes. This particular quote was from Erica, one of my favorite yoga instructors in Boston (if you are in Boston and need a dose of inspiration and a kick for your abs, go now)! I heard this quote when I was stressed out about the idea of leaving and going towards what others would see as ‘not normal.’ My heart was telling me that going after what I want to do is the right thing to do while my mind was sending red signals to my brain telling me that it was a crazy idea and that I should just stick to what I know how to do – and to be completely honest, part of me was scared to leave.
The reason I love yoga or any other sports or dance for that matter, is that it teaches you to get out of your comfort zone. I first fell in love with sports when I was 14. I have always been the creative/musical type, loved everything art, played in a jazz band, sang in choirs, etc. Anything that required me to use my non-existant athletic skills, I stayed far away from – until, our basketball coach saw us doing nothing after school one day and made us come try out. To my surprise, I got into the team and since then, I’ve tried any sports I could – not just a hobby but with passion. Basketball, soccer, all types of dances, yoga, kickboxing, the list goes on. The more I challenged myself physically, the more I realized I could get out of my comfort zone and it usually led to better things, made me a better person.
That’s how things are in yoga and in life – at least that’s how I look at it. As I sat at the beginning of class wondering whether the decision I made was crazy and unnecessary, I was just worried about leaving the familiarity and going into the life of unpredictability, something I am not comfortable with at all. But, at the end of the class, I knew that nothing new is comfortable (like my new boots that still kill my feet) and in order for me to go beyond where I am now, I need to get out of my comfort zone.
So, thanks Erica for the awesome inspiration. Check out her class schedule on her Facebook page

Challenge #7: Off the mat and on to the wall

I’m one of those people that loves familiarity and patterns. As in – I’m the one student that sits in the exact same spot during class, the one that stands in the exact same spot during dance class, yoga class, boxing class, you name it. I’m the one that sits in the exact same spot during lunch and when I go into the cafe that I always go to. I love familiarity and find comfort in it. If I for some reason have to move to a different spot, it just makes me anxious. This means that I also tend to go to the same yoga class with the same set of yoga instructors whom I love – and I just rotate within that cycle. I like Vinyasa so I ONLY go to Vinyasa classes. I only like two yoga studios, Back Back Yoga and Sweat and Soul Yoga, which I’ve mentioned many times and so I only go to those places.

However, my class card is expiring soon and I wanted to use them all up – so I thought it would be a great oppotunity for me to try something new. After all, these Challenge posts are supposed to force me to try new things and get out of my comfort zone. So, even though I was a little skeptical, I decided to try Ropes/Wall Yoga Conditioning at Back Bay Yoga with Aaron Carter. The good thing is, I’ve taken Aaron’s class before and absolutely loved it so I was feeling a little better that he was the instructor for this class.

I had no idea what to expect but I went anyway with half curiosity and half nervousness. Needless to say, it was awesome. It wasn’t very yoga-like in a sense that it was hard, tiring, challenging and I wouldn’t call it relaxing.  A hard work out at the beginning to strengthen the core and warm up the muscles and then ending with a nice inversion on the wall.

I was sore all week and I am going back tomorrow! So excited and looking forward to it. As always, you never know until you try something. I’m getting a membership just so I can go to rope yoga even though Back Bay is further from my house than Sweat and Soul. Have you ever tried it before?

Check out Ropes/Wall Yoga Conditioning with Aaron Cantor at Back Bay Yoga on Wednesdays at 7:30pm!