10 Things I’ve Learned on My Yoga Mat (That Help Me Out in the Real World)

“All life is Yoga.”~Sri Aurobindo   

  1. Don’t worry about how much better your neighbor seems to be doing than you. Yoga, like life, is not a competition. Remember: comparison is the thief of joy.
  2. If you find yourself getting too twisted up: pause, take a deep breath, gently release, and start over.
  3. Relax your grip–your toes, fingers, and jaw. Also, relax your grip on opinions, thoughts, and desires.
  4. You don’t have to push through pain, but you can lean into the sharp edges of discomfort. Use your breath to soften those sharp edges.
  5. Know when to be more flexible. Also know when stability and strength will serve you better than flexibility. Better yet, learn to be flexible, stable, and strong all at the same time.
  6. Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should.
  7. Just because you think you can’t do it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least try. 
  8. Root down to rise up. It’s important to feel grounded before taking flight. Build a firm foundation to help you achieve your goals. 
  9. Pay attention to what your mind is saying while you are practicing; know it may not always be true. Know that thoughts are often not true, they’re just thoughts. Let them pass without attaching any story to them. Refer back to #3.
  10. Pause often to reflect on what you are doing and come back to the present moment. Cultivate mindfulness: a moment-to-moment awareness. Stay tuned to this one moment with focused intention.

Just one more really important thing: Things are not always as they appear to be. Pay attention. Look beyond the obvious. Know that your interpretation of a pose may not be the same as someone else’s. The same goes for ideas, beliefs, and stories. We all have a different understanding and perception of, well, everything. Embrace the beauty of diversity. 

Photos mine, taken in my Home Studio, March 2017.

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