Yoga is growing in leaps and bounds. Recently in United States, Yoga was added to the school curriculum. This is amazing. This is an opportunity to teach children how to effectively manage the stress of being kids. Growing up is a stressful time. We live in an age where we are constantly plugged in, over scheduled and too busy. We don’t know how to shut it off. I think yoga will be great for teaching children to be mindful, considerate and kind to each other. Yoga will teach us the importance of stillness. Yoga is not a religion. Yoga is a greater understanding of you. Yoga is a journey into self-discovery and skillful living. School is the perfect place to start these life lessons and the earlier, the better. I never remember being taught how to breathe or manage my own stress of being a student and the stress of growing up and trying to belong. If we were all taught how to love ourselves the world might be a happier place. Yoga could be the tool to eliminating bullying. I wonder what the word might look like if we all followed the teachings of yoga, compassion, non-violence, acceptance, self-study and love.
1) Finding YOU
It is hard not to be distracted by outside influences. Don't be fooled by what you see and hear. Anyone can practice. It is not a religious endeavour but a celebration of the human spirit. I have been teaching yoga for about 10 years. I have heard a lot of judgements about what yoga is and isn’t and who can practice and who can’t. It really breaks my heart that we force our judgments on this practice. It is really a very personal experience. It is all about you.
Come to your mat as you are. Other people’s judgements of you or your practice have nothing to do with you. You don’t NEED to be a vegetarian/vegan, thin, flexible, or even young to connect with soul. Perhaps the people who are judging you are unhappy with themselves and could benefit from more time spent on their mats. Once you start practicing as you are you might feel compelled to become a vegan or feel stronger and fitter in your body; that is for you to decide and not anyone else. This is your journey.
2) Getting To Know Yourself
Starting a yoga practice can be challenging, it is hard work facing your fears. Being on your mat can be a vulnerable place. You are unsure of what you are doing, you may not look like everyone else and you’re not sure you even know how to breathe. Take it slow and just enjoy one breath at a moment. You are taking time for yourself. It can just be about that 1 hour of me time with no distraction. Start slow and do not be hard on yourself; even if you choose just lay down and breathe you are doing yoga. Pay attention to how you are feeling and focus on slowing down your breath.
Have an open heart and be supportive of you. Compassion for one’s self is the hardest thing to cultivate. It starts by really seeing yourself as you are. You are a beautiful being worthy of love, success, and mistakes. Mistakes are the place you learn the most about yourself. This is how you grow. Surround yourself with people who uplift you. Eliminate those around you who don’t share your happiness. Stay away from people who drag you down. Yoga will teach you some very hard lessons and for right now that is enough. Letting go is one of the toughest lesson. You are okay as you are. In fact you are great! If the people around you can’t see that or aren’t willing to support you in your quest for self-love and self-realization it is time to move on. Moving on from difficult relationships and letting go of that which does not serve you is the key to your own happiness.