A few weeks ago, one of my long-distance buddies contacted me about a yoga program that she was interested in. After chatting about it for a bit, we decided to team up and complete the program together as virtual workout partners. Each day we completed the day’s workout and checked in with one another. The accountability was amazing and really helped me to stay on track, and it was a great way to get back in touch with someone that I’d not spoken to in a while.
I’ve been interested in yoga for a few years and have taken yoga classes before, but for some reason I never felt like I had a grasp on yoga. I always left classes feeling as though I didn’t really understand it or connect with it. This program, however, has completely changed my outlook on yoga.
The instructors were all so good at explaining each posture, not only how to replicate it, but what each posture meant and what it did for the body. Despite being a program that I completed in my living room, it felt like each instructor was right there with me. I definitely have a new appreciation for yoga.
Here are some of my top take-aways!
Breathing into the Space
Every single yoga instructor I’ve ever come across always talks about “breathing into the space,” of things. I hear it so much that honestly it just seems to be something trendy that yoga teachers say because it sounds cool and relaxing. But this phrase has both literal and metaphoric meaning. Yoga requires you to stretch into some postures that may be challenging, and you use your breath to gently go deeper into these challenging poses, awakening your body, and building strength, stamina, and flexibility. In the same way, life often has a way of putting us in challenging situations. If we learn to lean in and gently “breathe into” those challenging spaces in life – with kindness, love, and patience – we will find ourselves building strength, stamina, and flexibility to our character.
Savasana (pronounced “shaVAsana”) is something of a corpse pose. You basically lay there and play dead. One of the instructors recalled learning about savasana for the first time and thinking it to be too morbid for her tastes. Then, she realized that this pose is about letting old things fall away and being re-awakened into the new. As a believer in Christ, I immediately connected this with the call for believers to die to ourselves. In the Bible, there is a verse that says, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation.” Whenever I went into the savasana pose, I asked God to continue to show me ways in which I could die to myself and become more like Christ.
It’s Not About How You Look
There was one class in which we did a downward dog split, a pose I’m not particularly good at. For this pose, you start in downward dog position, and then you bring up one of your legs into the air behind you. I can get my leg about three-fourths of the way up to where it is supposed to be. All the while, my plumber crack is showing and my t-shirt falls down over my head, and the extra flab from having been pregnant two years ago drops down and swings around. Its not sexy, and I don’t look anything like the instructor on my TV screen.
But it’s not about how you look, it’s about the subtle growth.
Although I have not yet reached the level of the instructors, I definitely felt strong during this program! There was a time that I would not have been able to do any of this. I’d been hospitalized, I was out of shape, I could barely walk without having trouble breathing – much less be working out every day. If we get caught up in our appearance (or the appearance of our situations) and allow what we see to discourage us – we will never win. We have to keep showing up, every day, and bring all of that un-sexy with us.
It’s in the mess that the transformation happens.
I used to do the side-eye when people took pictures of themselves doing yoga and would caption their picture with some life lesson or semi profound nugget of wisdom. But I am beginning to see how the physical lessons in yoga can transfer over into our every day lives.
If you’re into yoga, what are your biggest takeaways from your yoga practice?
If you need help getting started on a fitness journey, I would love to partner with you to make sure that you have the support you need to achieve your goals! You can contact me @wholeheartblog on Instagram or find me on Whole Heart Blog on Facebook!
It’s amazing what a little love and accountability can do!