3 Life Lessons From Your Mat

I always tell my students that all our life lessons can be found on our mat. I’ve been practicing yoga for over twenty years and I know this to be true. It sounds very simplistic; however, truth is not complicated.

Lessons #1: Be Present

When you come to your mat, that rectangle (or circle) is your space. It is an area where you can focus on your Self. As a teacher I help bring your attention to your breath, your body, your energy and your Being. When you become aware and connected to different aspects of your Self, you are present. One of the most important cues I give is to notice without judgement. In order to be present, you must release your attachment to judging thoughts. You must learn to simple notice.

Daily Life:  Next time you are in a crowded place or an overwhelming situation, practice being present. Use your awareness to simple notice without judgement. You may discover that the situation is not worth your energy. It adds up to having more energy to give to positive situations in your life.

Lesson #2: Just Breathe

Exhale, Inhale is the phrase I use most. I start all my classes with breathing. I have a few breathing techniques I like to work with throughout the class.  Breathing helps to focus the mind, calm the nervous system and brings large amounts of oxygen into our body.

Daily Life: Next time you are stress out, exhale, inhale!  Take five to ten deep breathes, using your favorite technique. It will calm you down. It’s one of reasons people are instructed to breathe into a bag during a panic attack.  If you feeling overwhelmed, breathing will help you focus on the task at hand. Lastly bringing in lots of oxygen will help you with endurance, especially if you must work those extra couple of hours to get the job done! Just breathe!

Lesson #3: Let Go

This is perhaps the hardest part of the practice for many. Letting go of ego, letting go of tension, letting go of limiting thoughts. I like to give people permission to listen to their body and work at their level. I remind them it is not a competition, not even with your Self.  We let go of limiting thoughts like should or could and replace them with kindness and gratitude. Savasana is a great time to let go, however for many it is difficult to relax and rest. Sometime it is associate with lack of productivity and self-worth. Our mat helps us understand the we must recharge our bodies in order to be productive.

Daily life: Let go of the competition with others and with your Self. Give yourself permission to listen to your body and your state of being. Treat your body with loving kindness and become aware of limiting thoughts that start with should of, could of. Replace them with positive thoughts of gratitude. Even the hardest trials are opportunities for personal growth and wisdom.  Letting go creates space for more worthwhile endeavors. Remember, we are worthy simply because we exist.

Embracing Wellness!

When I look back at all the professions I have been in, there is one common thread: helping people feel good about themselves.

It started with my cosmetology license, continued with a degree in fashion design and then fitness and yoga. It started with the exterior (appearance) and gradually made its way inward (spiritual). I realize it reflects most people’s journey of discovery.

My journey has spanned thirty-five years, and as its unfolded, one thing is clear: mind, body and spirit are integrally connected. You can be fit as a pro, dressed in the lasts garb, and coiffed to the nines, if your inner state is not well…you are not well.

Thich Nhat Hanh tells this parable: “…a man sees a man on a horse rushing by, riding hurriedly. He asks where are you going? The man answers, I don’t know ask the horse!” I’ve spent the better part of my life on that horse and I am not alone.  Many of us hurry through life mindlessly, not exactly sure why or where we are going or what our purpose is.

The mind-body-spirit triangle creates a guide we can use for overall health and well-being. Well-being is defined as the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy. It’s simple and yet there are many areas that are essential in creating this balanced wholeness, as illustrated in the seven dimensions of wellness wheel.

Soon our name company name will change from Be Inspired Fitness and Yoga to Be Inspired Wellness and Yoga. After completing my advanced training program, having an integrated approach our my classes, workshops, retreats, and personal sessions is important.  It is the only approach that will create whole-person wellness and personal balance.

Suddenly helping people feel good about themselves takes on a whole new meaning!