I just got home from a four day yoga conference. It was such a great time, I was able to laugh and learn with large group of like minded yogis. I really enjoyed learning more about the anatomy portion of yoga, how to engage the proper muscle to be able to gain the most out of the practice, hold poses longer, or more effortlessly. When the weekend was done I learned so many great things to take away from the event. Some of my favorites were the little words of inspiring wisdom that were shared by the teachers when the class was getting intense or frustrating. I feel like the words they shared could be applied in all areas of life, especially on the journey to a healthy happy body.
Splits photo credit: Fit Sugar
During an intense class we were working on poses to open the hips and deep stretches. There is a point when you just cannot stretch any further, for some of us that is bending over to touch our toes and only reaching the knees, others can reach their toes but want to reach inches beyond. The trouble comes when we compare with our neighbor and then start feeling frustrated. Our teacher saw this starting to happen, in a room full of 200 yogis at all levels, there is bound to be someone better than you. While we were holding the pose (which can get pretty uncomfortable or frustrating), the teacher started talking us through it. I will do my best to paraphrase and hopefully you get the same inspiration that I had. She said, "Be on the same team as your body!" We spend so much time fighting against it or complaining about it being too something; tall, short, big, little, or weak. We are very good at being an enemy to our own body. In any thing we are trying to progress in, if we aren't loving ourself, we will be our own stumbling block. How often do we look in the mirror and get excited about what we see reflecting back at us? Wouldn't it be awesome to look in the mirror and see your best friend that you love and respect (YOU!). Imagine if you were on the same team as your body and not fighting against it, hating the little imperfections we are so good at finding. What would that be like? If we could just appreciate who we are right now and just be grateful for all of our working parts. Starting the day with gratitude for what we have and where we are on on our journey, don't you think we will take better care of ourself? The weight loss or gain, physical or personal strength, or depth of a pose will come in time if we are taking care of and loving ourself. Too weird? I loved the thoughts that her statement brought to me, BE ON THE SAME TEAM AS YOUR BODY! It is not easy but worth making a new friend and ally in yourself.
Another great moment happened during an inversion class, headstands and handstands. We talk anatomy and how to use which muscles to properly hold the poses. After some time discussing the details and proper alignment of the poses it was time to attempt them! Wahoo! Doesn't it look awesome? That is what we were all trying to achieve, a perfect headstand. We had instructions and knew what it should look like so we all dove right in. After a few minutes of the room full of yogis either standing on their heads or those of us struggling, jumping, falling, and pushing against gravity to achieve the beautiful end pose. The teacher stopped us and started talking to be us about the journey. Yoga is so easy to compare to real life events. There are so many things that we learn about and know how it is suppose to look or be. We focus so much on the end result and push ourself so hard and end up forgetting about the journey. We can learn much if we stay in the moment, go slow, and embrace the process. There are many health benefits of standing on your head, but that is not the only thing we can gain from learning how to do one. I have fallen out MANY times to say the least, I did not walk away from it. I still go to classes and learn more and how to properly aline my body. Each time I try I gain more strength and confidence in standing on my head, sounds crazy right? How many times do we do the same thing in life or on our whole food plant based journey. I know I am not perfect at eating right all the time, does that mean I give up this lifestyle all together? NO! I get right back at it, day after day, meal after meal. I learn and I am able to enjoy the process, each time I come back I know more and am a little stronger. I have more confidence in all areas of life because I can fall and get back at it, and now I can stand on my head! Who knows what I will achieve next! :)
I hope I didn't take you too far in the land of yogis. I just wanted to share some inspiring words with you! Life is a journey, embrace where you are right now, be your own best friend and ally, and enjoy the journey!