I know I’ve written about how much of a difference yoga has made for me before, as well as how much I’ve grown since I started doing it regularly. Today I thought I’d write about how yoga has changed me.
Yoga brought me out of my comfort zone. I’d never really done yoga before, but I decided to give it a go with the encouragement of a friend. I was terrified for most of that first class, but once I walked out the studio afterwards I felt pretty proud of myself for going even though I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. Each class always presents a challenge. Whether it’s staying present on my mat when I’m worried about something, or trying a pose without a modification for the first time.
Yoga made me think about my accomplishments. Yoga was a whole new thing to me. Instead of focusing on stats like how far I’d gone or how well I did each pose, I was encouraged to be okay with where I was. If I wasn’t able to go as deep into a pose as I could yesterday, that was okay. If I was tighter on one side of my body than the other, that was okay too. Yoga wasn’t about going as hard or as far as I could. It was about being okay with where my body and head were in that moment. Yoga taught me that I could be proud of myself whether or not I was “better” than the day before.
I learned how to be present. Yoga was a lifesaver for me when I was going through a tough time. I was stressed about sick family members. Spending time everyday at the hospital was tough. There were so many things to stress about. It was easy to get overwhelmed with everything going on. But a funny thing happened when I showed up for yoga class during that time. Even though I was stressed to the max, it was like my body knew I was trying to give it a break. When I was on my mat all I thought about was yoga – trying to get my leg where I wanted it or focussing on my breathing. While thoughts of my family definitely did sneak in, for the most part I was able to take a mental break and focus on my practice.
I cared less what others thought. It’s easy to compare yourself to others when you’re in a yoga class. Mats can be pretty close together if it’s a busy class, and sometimes it’s tough to not focus on the person in front or beside you. The more I practiced though, the more I focused on myself and my own practice. My awareness went from the room down to my own mat. Ashtanga yoga (my favourite kind) is all about the breath. Being encouraged to focus on my breath really helped me to draw my attention inward.
How has yoga changed you? Leave me a comment telling me about your journey.