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Lessons from Yoga

People are drawn to Yoga for so many different reasons; flexibility, strength, relaxation, quiet downtime are just a few. For many people the benefits of Yoga are first noticeable in their body: less pain and discomfort, easier time tying their shoes and sleeping better for example. However, it doesn’t take long for the lessons of the practice to start to trickling into our daily lives.

What begins as a physical practice can soon become a profound teacher and tool kit for living. I’ve spent some time lately considering some of the lessons I have received from a regular Yoga practice and have come up with a top 5:

1) The breath is a passageway from our outer world to our inner world. And once we follow it inside, our breath becomes the most knowledgable tour guide and honest teacher. *Bonus Lesson: Your breath is your life force, to observe it is to observe the flow of life in its constant ebb and flow*

2) Nothing likes to be forced, especially our body. I have learned by much trail and error that a gentle tender approach is always far more productive than forcing my body into a pose. By relaxing and encouraging we can can journey deeper within ourselves, and often the pose will unfold that way as well. *Bonus Lesson: You get to practice patience and gentleness for yourself (which can often be challenging to offer ourselves) *

3) In softness we find our true strength. In the Western world we are taught that we must work hard to achieve our goals, in Yoga we are shown that by allowing ease and gentleness to permeate our practice we can disperse our effort in a more balanced way. By balancing effort and ease we practice encouraging and challenging ourselves in a nurturing and loving way. *Bonus Lesson: You should be able to do Yoga with a peaceful, soft expression on your face, and not be clenching your jaw/neck/shoulders the whole time ;)*

4) In order for us to move forward, we have to learn to let go. This is a tough one! Whether it shows up as a disappointment or as an achievement, it can be extremely challenging for us to sit with something and then let it go. However, in the Yoga practice we are reminded that we are not those events, we are the awareness that observes them, learns the lesson from them and then continues along on the path of exploration and growth. *Bonus Lesson: Everything happens in its own time, some lessons take longer than others*

5) Practice on the mat is practice for life off the mat. The depth of the practice isn’t about how far you can go in a certain pose or how long you can balance on your head, it is about how fully and completely you can embody and live the practice throughout your whole life. *Bonus Lesson: Its called the “Yoga practice” and not the “Yoga perfect” for a reason ;), every ounce you give to your practice will be returned to you many fold, because the lessons are powerful and your perfection is an absolute, we just have to learn to see it.*

What has Yoga taught you? It has so much to share, that it’s lessons show up in so many different ways for different people, please share with us the way Yoga has shown up in your life!!

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