September 10, 2013

Life Lessons: The Yoga & Non-Yoga Way. ~ Jenna Penielle Lyons

photo by Bailey Evans

It’s okay if you didn’t like the yoga class you went to today.

Better yet, it’s okay if you didn’t like the practice you did by yourself at your house this morning.

It is all part of a beautiful journey to become the perfect human that is inside your realm of potential… to realize what your body—what a body—can become.

Sometimes I get out of a yoga class and I think that I rocked it. I walk out of the studio with a tangible glow on my face, warmth in my body, and an attitude that could take off like a rocket—full of happiness. Sometimes I get out of yoga and feel compassion and kindness and joy oozing out of my smile and my fingertips. Sometimes I get out of yoga and I am in love with and proud of the body I am living in.

And sometimes in yoga class, I want to punch the prana shorts in front of me, I hate my body, I feel like I can’t stick any postures, my breathing is whack, and I exit the studio more tired and more aggravated than I was when I started the class.

Why does something that is supposed to make me happy tend to—on occasion—make me frustrated? Why do I sometimes transform from a calm, collected, zen-like individual into a crazy, bipolar, self-deprecating bitch?

Well, the answer is actually quite simple. Watch this video from Kino MacGregor (such a gorgeous yogi!):

There it is.

Yoga is supposed to make us follow this journey… it isn’t supposed to automatically make us happy. It teaches us how to achieve happiness on our own. It gives us the tools we need in our minds and bodies to remain sane in our everyday lives. And all forms of yoga are paths to the same destination. Remember that when things get hard!

Double Buddhasana–the most frustrating thing for me right now.

Eka Pada Bakasana B—just as frustrating.

They can all be frustrating. The funny thing is that on some occasions, Down Dog or Child’s Pose are the most challenging postures for me; I know it is because I am not a patient person, and the resting postures are yoga’s way of teaching me and telling me to be more patient.

I know that some people do a form of yoga that isn’t the right form of yoga for their physical needs. Sometimes I could benefit from switching my practice to something more suitable for my physical and emotional needs.

Perhaps practicing outside would be a beautiful alternative to practicing in a dark, cramped studio? There are so many solutions to “yoga problems.”

And there could be more than one (non-yoga) way to learn the lessons of life, too. Yoga is indeed one of them, a very popular one. It is an accessible way to exercise our minds and bodies simultaneously, and there are many forms of yoga, so maybe one of them works for you.

But maybe baking is one meditation that soothes your soul and sweetens your belly. Maybe riding mountain bikes or horses or skateboards is one that tames your temper. Maybe hanging out with friends and family who adore you makes you feel included and loved. Perhaps parenting is your yoga of patience.

I’d venture to say that anything that teaches you to be a conscious and cognizant human is a form of “yoga.” You can learn something by doing anything or doing nothing at the appropriate times.

Listen to your body and your mind, and love your fellow yogis and yoginis. Enjoy the journey, because you’ll eventually get there (wherever it is!) someday, and after that, there will be nowhere else to go and no more work to do!

Like elephant yoga on Facebook.

Ed: Sara Crolick

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