Becoming Our Heart-Felt Best: How Yoga Is Practice for Life
Being your truest self means to shy away from distractions. Instead, turn toward tending to the heart of who you are. Don’t allow your past to define you, be defined by how you rise above, learn, and grow as a result of your past. Trust that you can do this.
This message comes because I’m still high from the decadent experience of working with Ana Forrest this last weekend in Seattle, Washington. As an entrusted Guardian of Forrest Yoga, I have the gift of practicing next to Ana before the workshops to warm up and prepare to work the students. In these early hours I learn more about myself than any hour at work or home or on a run or whatever. The practice room is free from all of my favored distractions. Coming clean and clear is easy here. It’s where I call home.
How Yoga Is Living
In my eyes, having a yoga practice is more about how we live our life. It is a sacred time and opportunity to work in magical ways to rise up and become more than our stories of misfortune. Yoga poses are playgrounds to practice different thinking patterns with the goal of positive results. In life and in yoga poses, when we get bucked off the horse, we must get back on right away. Allowing too much time to pass or shying away from another attempt gives us an opportunity to create a story full of our addictive excuses like, “I’m too stupid,” “I’m too inflexible,” “I can’t.” Instead, dust yourself off and try the pose again. This is the practice of yoga and living. Making multiple attempts at the same obstacle until we get through to the next level.
Progressing in Yoga is Progressing in Life
At the workshops last weekend, one student caught my heart’s attention. She was younger and struggling throughout the weekend sessions. She vacated out of poses on a consistent basis. She would experience her feelings up to a certain point in a pose, then shy away from furthering the sensations, drop to her knees, and give up. She did this repeatedly.
I watched from afar to feel for how I could assist her. During turbo dog I went to her side, placed my hand on the back of her heart, and encouraged her to stay in the pose. I coached her to inhale into her back, to feel for my hand, and to press down through her feet on her exhale. She attempted to set her knees down, but I strongly encouraged her to stay in the pose and breathe with herself. I told her I wouldn’t leave her side and that I believed she could do this. We repeated this cycle together for five full breaths. Then it was time to come out of the pose. She sat up, eyes wide and fully present. I asked her what she felt. She replied, “I didn’t think I could do it.” She smiled. She dispelled her own notions of disbelief. In that one instance, I felt her grow from a young teenager to womanhood. It was beautiful.
Looking Through the Window of Yoga
This is one example of how yoga can help us. It can be a life preserver across a vast ocean of distractions and addictions we tend toward in the unconscious way we go about our life. For me, yoga is not just about the poses. It’s about living my life the best I possibly can and making wise choices repeatedly. The poses definitely help in those endeavors as they are what supply us with a break from the distractions. The poses allow us to sit and be still with our self. The poses reflect how we deal or cope or work with our unsettled feelings in yoga and elsewhere.
If we don’t like the results we are getting in life, it may be time to change our thoughts or actions. We are creatures of patterns, created from thoughts that in turn create an internal chemistry. This chemistry is what fuels our actions. This trifecta is charged by our hearts - by who we are. If we don’t like our actions, thoughts, or feelings, ultimately it can lead us to not liking our self.
- What negative thinking patterns come up most frequently? They impact you and the people around you. How would you like to think differently? Change them to be more valuable. Use new words.
- Feel how your body moves. What do you feel? Do you like what you feel? If not, what action will you take to do something unique that helps your body feel as though you are taking care and making wiser decisions?
- What actions are you most proud of? Is it when you take time to prepare quality food? Allow for enough rest? Read? Speak the truth? Initiate connection with someone you feel strongly toward? These are just examples. What is real for you? How can you do more of these types of actions on a daily basis?
- How do you distract yourself? These distractions lead to lost time. Our life is short and the more time we spend with distractions, the less time we have for what is most valuable and important.
Give time to being your heart-felt best every day. You will surely be proud. This is how we can build our own happiness, by limiting distractions and living life as our true self. A work in process.
Photos courtesy of Shutterstock.