Society taught me that “fitting in” is what I should strive for and pursue with all my might.
Yoga taught me that…
1. There is a different way to live.
2. A consistent physical practice yields strength, flexibility and confidence— it’s easier for my actions and words to feel authentic when I feel at home in my body.
3. Physical tension is a result of mental stress and a lack of breath awareness.
If I’m not mindful, tightly wound tension transforms into injury and dis-ease, which can run the show my entire life.
4. Treating myself well requires a delicate balance of being gentle AND stern with myself.
5. I must look at my habits honestly and decide if they still serve me. The coping mechanisms that I used growing up likely do not serve the semi-grown up that I am today.
6. I can practice something for the sake of practice without being attached to the outcome.
7. It is absolutely essential to slow down, rest and meditate every single day if I expect the work I do to remain sustainable.
8. Emptiness and loneliness are legitimate feelings, but they only exist because the human mind is programmed to give experiences labels. Assigning emotion is the Ego’s favorite job because It creates order and a sense of control in a chaotic world.
9. As long as I succumb to every desire and constantly grasp for happiness outside of myself, I will never know lasting inner peace.
10. There will always be something more to improve upon or accomplish. Goals are a great thing to have as long as the grass can still be green in the present.
11. People who trigger me are my greatest teachers.
12. Observing my initial reaction allows space to choose a different action.
13. True surrender opens the doors to live free of guilt, shame and regret.
14. I have a choice in every purchase I make and every meal that I eat. The greatest asset I have is my power of choice.
15. I am not my bank account or my social media streams.
16. The time to be content is now. The past is a memory and the future is unknown. Intentions are for the present.
17. There is no light without darkness, no joy without pain, no freedom without fear.
18. A shift in perspective is always possible.
19. I don’t have to fit in and no one will love me unconditionally for the whole of my existence like I can love me.
20. I can effect great change simply by living as an example of what yoga can do.
For all of these lessons and for all I have yet to learn, I am deeply grateful.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: courtesy of the author