Your First Yoga Lesson: It's Not What You Think and You Can Do It Right Now
You’ve heard yoga has benefits. Some of these benefits might actually be what you need. Like brushing teeth or eating vegetables, adding a bit of yoga to your daily routine can enhance your quality of living.
Then why isn’t everyone doing something yoga related? Well, the truth is you already have.
Remember now the first time you ever heard of or witnessed yoga. Maybe this is your first introduction now. Were there initial thoughts, hesitations, beliefs, or judgments toward yoga? Very few people have a totally neutral mind when first greeted with something new. Think about how many times you heard about something potentially life-improving and immediately got curious and checked it out? Do you do this every time or only with some things immediately relevant in addressing needs and wants?
Our brain is a hard drive of experiences and immediately launches it’s own “search engine” looking for reference points to make “sense” of something new. Recognizing in the present moment when your mind begins searching for information is one of the first parts of yoga. When you pause for a moment, take a breath and observe that the mind engine kicked into contemplation - this is where magic can happen.
The formula for this magic starts with listening to internal dialogue and memories surfacing from the body to gauge how you “feel” in any given moment. After all, what we think about creates the life we live.
Now try this exercise:
- Sit up tall, concentrate on your back.
- Breathe five deep breaths into your back, expanding ribs with your eyes closed.
What did you notice? What did you feel? What did you think about?
Maybe you realized how tight and uncomfortable your back feels. Maybe it was challenging to stay focused on this area for five breaths. Simply pausing for a few breaths can be a deeply rewarding and insightful experience.
I remember the first time I took a yoga class, after hearing about the benefits of releasing tension in body and mind. I felt my body come to life in Downward Facing Dog Pose. (In this pose, hands and feet are on the ground, arms and legs straight and hips pointing up.) It electrified me with energy and I could feel for the first time the limitations from past injuries, car accidents, and stressful life experiences - I could feel the cells in my body vibrating and transmitting brilliance. That was powerful!
In my ten years of learning and teaching yoga, I’ve witnessed incredible growths in myself and people around me. It’s been a gateway I encourage all to enter and find more depth and companionship to themselves.
Yoga postures and shapes provide a physical shape suspended in time for you to witness what you think, feel, and focus on. Consider the positions, or asanas (traditionally called in the Sanskrit language) different shapes of meditation, each with the added benefit of releasing rigidity and creating space for a more brilliant body to escort your mind for the rest of your life.
Take another breath. Feel fully your inhale and exhale. Remember your strengths. Let go of what dims your passion-filled spark to live. Thrive in this amazing life.