Over the last few months, I (and baby!) have been working toward completing my 200 hour Yoga Alliance Teacher Training Certification. Yoga has been in my life for some years, but my recent commitment to this training has taken my personal practice and appreciation for all that yoga can offer to an entirely new level.
I am specifically studying and being trained in the Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga practice and am excited to be able to offer yoga to my coaching clients come June! What I love about this particular style of yoga is that it's a physically demanding and vigorous practice which works your entire body, but the physical postures are only one element of what you learn in this practice. So much of yoga, and this practice in particular, teaches us to take what we learn on the mat and implement it in our daily lives off the mat. And while I love so many types of exercise – spin, circuit training, boxing, barre, etc – I, personally, haven't found that any of those have the ability to impact the rest of my daily life as powerfully as this yoga practice.
As with anything else, everyone needs to find what form of exercise or movement works for them. One is not better than another. But because this practice has been so transformative for me and has had such a big impact in my life lately, I wanted to share some of what I have gotten from it.
If you’ve ever tried yoga, (or had a casual conversation with anyone about it), you’ve probably heard reference to the importance of “presence”. Being “present” is something that is talked about a lot in yoga. And even though I’ve practiced various types of yoga for several years, I only recently just figured out what the hell people are talking about when they say that…
“Be here now”
“Really see what you’re looking at”
Commit to staying on your mat for the next 90 minutes”
I always heard it but it just sounded like a lot of fluff…I mean, of course I’m here now. Where else could I be if I’m right here?! Do I have a choice but to stay on my mat for the rest of this class?! It kind of felt like the teacher was just reading from the yoga script.
But in the last few months of submerging myself into the practice and the philosophy, it started to actually take on real meaning:
“Be here now”: you came to class. You unrolled your mat. You’re in the first posture. Are you thinking about your grocery list? Or about what pose is coming next? Or how long we are going to hold this? Or how your stomach is hanging over your pants? Are you thinking about that comment someone made a month ago that really bothered you and has been festering ever since?
It’s totally normal to have those thoughts, even after years of practice. It doesn’t mean you’re “doing it wrong”. But the teacher is asking you to acknowledge those thoughts –notice them– and then let them go. Focus instead on where you are right now. Maybe you’re uncomfortable, or really hot, or pissed off. It’s all OK. Try to just experience that moment; be OK with whatever comes up for you, physically or otherwise, without jumping ship.
Because here’s the thing. Being able to stay really focused and present for an hour of yoga practice is great. Being able to clear out the clutter during that time on your mat, without trying to distract yourself or getting consumed by the 12,000 other things you have going on in your life, is awesome. But it’s not actually the point.
The real point? Learning how to do that in the time you spend on your yoga mat and then bringing that into your life.
The real point is to be better able to play on the floor with your kids without jumping up 7 times to change the laundry or empty the dishwasher.
The real point is to learn how to feel emotions without judging yourself or turning to a sleeve of cookies to numb yourself from feeling them.
The real point is to truly revel in the excitement of a milestone without being preoccupied with when the next one will come (totally talking to myself here).
Yoga is helping me do these things. Maybe yoga does that for you too. Or maybe running does. Or meditation. Or singing. How you get there doesn’t really matter so much. But working on getting there is critical. Because, at the end of the day, our lives are just an accumulation of moments. If we’re always onto what’s next, if we’re always jumping ahead or dwelling on the moments that have passed, we’re missing it all.
P.S. If you’re interested in private or small group yoga classes, drop me a line here:
More details will be available soon on my website!