Three Ways to Channel Your Inner Yogi
I took my first yoga class when I was about 15 years old. I thought it was slow-moving and that I was more of a “Pilates person”. LOL. Even years later, I couldn’t sit still for even a few minutes. I’d slightly open my eyes when meditating only to realize the meditation wasn’t over. Bored, I’d return to the millions of thoughts buzzing around in my head. I didn’t start loving yoga until I moved to New York.
I was living in Hell’s Kitchen at the time, Steps away from Times Square - arguably the loudest place like, ever - and somehow found my quiet. My calm. My solace. It was in 90 degree-Slow Burn Yoga, every Monday night. My mind was clear. My focus was on point. My parasympathetic nervous system could be tapped into within seconds. I was truly at peace. But how do you do that?
Find Your Mentor
I don’t love workouts, I love teachers. I am fiercely loyal to trainers I believe in, who are educated, articulate, and genuinely concerned with their clients’ well being. Find a class you enjoy and an instructor you click with. You will be more consistent and more deeply develop your practice if you feel externally accountable. In yoga, I’m obsessed with voice intonation and inflection. Interestingly enough, every yoga teacher I’ve told “I love your speaking voice” to knows exactly what I mean (and doesn’t think I’m cray). What facets of yoga do you enjoy - pranayama? Asana? Meditation? Ask your mentor questions after class, and be receptive to personalized feedback. With the assistance and guidance of your mentor, your practice will evolve further than it ever would otherwise.
Practice on Your Own
I practiced yoga everywhere, even in my shoebox-sized studio apartment. I had just enough room for my mat and a Rat Pad (horrible name for a squishy disk to practice inversions on). Cultivate your practice and build upon its foundation to deepen your mind/body/soul connection. Work on what YOU want to work on. If you don’t like chair pose, you don’t HAVE to do it! (Note: chair pose is my least fav pose and I’ve done it in every single vinyasa class I’ve ever been to...womp womp.) It’s great to have a well-rounded asana practice, but if your goal is to be able to do a handstand, do it because it’s a goal and a challenge that you enjoy working toward - not solely because you saw someone on Instagram do it and it looked cool. If you do the latter, achieving that goal will become pretty anticlimactic. YES, it’s okay to have fun during yoga!!
This is so important! You must believe in what you are manifesting. Many teachers begin class inviting students to have an intention for class. Actually do that. Remind yourself why you are practicing and use it as motivation to power you through. I started enjoying yoga so much more after I’d already mastered the poses I’d wanted to learn - because after a while, I realized it wasn’t just about the poses. It was about the intention. The breath. The healing. I’ve cried in class because I was SO emotionally, mentally, and physically connected to my practice. Why? This is where I practiced my mantra, YOU ARE ENOUGH. It was only after that when I started to believe it, and the power to let go of self-imposed criticisms in exchange for confidence and positivity was absolutely life-changing. Believe that your yoga practice, however you choose to express it, can be a transformative experience that enriched your life, and it will be.