Sometimes, I wonder if I’m getting the benefits of my yoga practice.
When I signed up for the monthly unlimited pass at the studio, I committed to showing up several times a week. I thought that by doing yoga regularly, inevitably it would seep into all areas of my life—transforming me into a calm, cool, and collected yogi.
Some days, it happens—I bask in the post-practice glow for hours. Other days, however, my stress level shoots through the roof right after Savasana, because I can’t get my bag unzipped to put away my mat.
Yoga is an inside job.
Progress on the mat can’t always be measured. While kicking into Forearm Stand after days of barely lifting a leg can definitely be a breakthrough, most of the benefits from yoga start on the inside, therefore they can’t be seen.
Breath, awareness, and perseverance are all pieces that play into the practice. Finding Forearm Stand is great, but staying with the breath and experiencing the present while in Forearm Stand is what inspires progress.
It’s the effort to be with the practice that transforms the mind and body. And this requires patience.
The first step towards transformation is a regular yoga practice. You can’t come to the mat consistently, and not notice a shift in your overall attitude. But because the changes aren’t always obvious to the eye, here are some clues that you’re on the right track to a yoga transformation.
1. You’re skipping happy hour for an after-work Flow class.
After sitting at your desk all day, the idea of sitting at a bar is the last thing you want to do when work lets out. The only seat you want to take is with hands in prayer accompanied by an “Om.” And the only drink you want is a tropical chia seed smoothie.
2. There’s a tank and pair of yoga pants in your bag, always.
You never know when your schedule will permit a last minute class, so you are prepared with the proper attire at all times.
3. You’re following Kino MacGregor, Laura Sykora, and Kathryn Budig on Instagram.
This means you have less time for Rita Ora, Alexa Chung, and Cara Delevingne.
4. Kale and quinoa salad sounds really, really good for lunch. With green juice.
It’s not your taste buds that have changed, it’s your body that’s craving the nutrients to make you feel better and do better in yoga and in life.
5. You understand the difference between Vinyasa, Ashtanga, and Iyengar.
And you’ve found which one works best for you.
6. If you’re not already doing it, you’re curious about meditation.
The thought of sitting still no longer seems strange to you. In fact, when the instructor gives five minutes at the end of class for meditation… you want to go longer.
7. You take Tree Pose when waiting in line at Starbucks and practice Mula Bandha on a conference call.
Once your practice has really seeped in, you will find an opportunity for yoga anywhere and anytime.
So, can you relate to these signs? In what ways do you know your yoga practice is making your life better? I’d love to hear about your thoughts and experiences in the comments!