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Fierce Forward | An Empowerment Brand by Ashley Johns

The 7 Life Lessons Yoga Taught Me

Yoga begins right where I am – not where I was yesterday or where I long to be. ~Linda Sparrowwe

ash prayer hands

The 7 Life Lessons Yoga Has Taught Me

I always feel better when I walk out of yoga.

Unlike most athletics or practices, it isn’t about being better or good at something. It’s about just doing my best. Just showing up and doing my honest best. And when I’m in my practice, I’m not thinking about anything else other than being fully present through the entire movement. Sometimes I catch my reflection and see a warrior in the mirror. I feel proud of myself for showing up for me and honestly, that’s what matters most in my practice. That I show up for me every time.

There are so many benefits to yoga that I’ve already witnessed impacting my life for the better. Like it being a killer workout. Taking any yoga class and you’ll get it! Like it bringing a sense of peace and calm within myself. It has such a magical effect on the whole. I don’t know any other practice where I literally laugh and cry in the same hour. Just today I was lying in pigeon pose and I just started crying.

Yoga is a rinsing of the spirit. A healing that brings you home.

Everything that’s lying dormant inside of you eventually finds its way out, through your practice. All the pain, the things you’re carrying that no longer serve you, all the false beliefs, worry, concern, fear. All of it, it just rinses and what once lied deep inside you like a sleeping giant of pain, awakens and releases. And you feel it. And it’s liberating, peaceful and so joyful. Most times, the tears that come up for me bring me to thinking about the pain I’ve been holding onto and kind of pressing back instead of facing. The pain of being hurt, of being misunderstood, of being an outsider…whatever it is in that moment that surfaces for me, I let it come up as it is and then I let it go. Because that’s what it needs to do for me to move on and forward. And I leave feeling lighter, feeling more like the joyful girl I’m trying to come home to everyday.

Yoga helps me unpack my sleeping giants.

And in doing so, I find peace, liberation and joy. Three feelings I want in my life! I feel so strongly about this because it has impacted my life just by practicing consistently, five days per week for the past 7 weeks. It has changed my life because it has changed me.

1. Let go to move forward

One of the core ways yoga has healed me is by teaching me to let go of old energy, of energy that doesn’t serve me and energy that isn’t mine. I understand now that I don’t have to take everything on. Experience comes in waves of pain, joy, pleasure and so many other feelings. The ones that hurt are the ones that can be our greatest teachers. I want to let them be the teacher, not my enemy. And I do that by learning to let go of pain and release it from my spirit.

Pain isn’t who you are, it’s just what you are carrying.

To learn from the lesson and then move forward with that strength in my toolbelt.

let go to move forward

2. Movement is always the cure

I remember times I sat on my couch or in a dark room and felt sorry for myself. I couldn’t get up, I just kept sinking farther in and down. And that lack of movement created a ripple effect in my life. What you think, you become and when you aren’t moving…energy goes stagnant.

Movement is always the cure. Moving through yoga is like moving through life. You just have to get there and then you start moving and everything gets better. Your mood, your perspective, your breath. The times I’ve felt stuck in my life, I notice I’m moving less. Less nature walks and more sitting. Less activity and more food. Even the thoughts in my brain I observe as moving in the direction of lack, scarcity, worry and fear.

And when I get up and start moving in a new direction, everything else follows.

Moving through yoga is like moving through life.You just start moving and your energy, your thoughts and feelings will move in the direction you do. Choose the couch or burying your face in the computer and everything will move that way. Choose forward movement and so all else will follow. It’s up to you to move in the direction of what you really want, of how you really want to feel.

i decide my vibe

3. I decide my vibe

My life and how I feel in my life is a choice. It’s a choice each of us makes in every moment. In yoga, it’s just me on my mat. There may be other people practicing around me but that’s not my business.

My focus in yoga is to be where I stand.

And to be there as fully and as best I can be.

It’s so easy to focus on so many other things in our day to day life and my practice teaches me how to stand where I am in my life, not where others are or aren’t. I don’t have to react to someone else’s bad day or negative energy. That’s their energy, not mine. I can choose my vibe and I do. I decide my vibe. This has paid huge dividends to how I’m showing up in my life for me. It’s about choosing my vibe, not responding to the world’s vibe. Every day and every moment, I decide my vibe.

4. For good things to begin, take a chance

I actually heard this advice on a tv show. A younger man was telling a older man about wanting to do something in his life that was really big and he was excited about, but it was too risky. The risk was holding him back from following his dream. The old man replied, “for good things to begin, take a chance.”

Think about that for a minute. Let it move around in your brain until it sinks in. It’s very valuable advice.

I think about when my aunt first invited me to a yoga class. I always try to say yes to things and then feel them out and decide if I will continue giving my time, energy and love to something. I appreciate this about me because I wasn’t always this way. I used to be more like a turtle who would hide in her shell when invited places. And then I started living my mantra of Fierce Forward and that changed everything for me. It brought me out of my turtle shell so I could live, express and be who I am.

I’m so glad I went to yoga the first time.

I think of how many missed opportunities I may have had by not saying yes.

And even though it was hard and uncomfortable and I thought about how I was so not bendy or made for this, I went back again. And then the next day and then soon enough I traded my gym membership for a yoga membership. For good things to begin, take a chance. You just never know what could be waiting for you when you say yes.

5. I’m seeing things more clearly

The past two years I have gone through some lotus in the mud kind of stuff, some phoenix burning to be reborn stuff. You get the drift. I couldn’t see where I was going. I was just trying to figure out how I got to where I was.

When I go into yoga each morning, there is nothing for me to do but practice. Nothing for me to concern myself about or figure out or see more clearly. Because I leave it at the door. And in this simple thing, I somehow find clarity.

Life seems super simple after yoga.

It helps me to see that for me, as long as I’m following my heart, being a good person and being who I truly am, that all is good in my world. I don’t need to overcomplicate it.

6. I’m managing my anxiety

I’ve had anxiety for years. Anxiety is anticipation of the future. For anyone who has ever had it, you know that once it becomes engrained in your body (chronic vs acute), it starts showing up even when you’re not consciously thinking of worry or doubt. Sometimes it comes up when you’re triggered with something that once brought you a large amount of worry. What I’m trying to say is that it’s difficult to manage and I’ve come to surrender to it so I can manage it, not fight it.

Since going to yoga consistently, my anxiety has gotten better. One of the most important aspects of your practice is to breathe. Every teacher will tell you that. Moving with your breath and always coming back to it when you drift somewhere else. It’s your life force. Anxiety literally takes your breath away, making it difficult to even catch your breath. Which is probably why so many people who have it describe it as horrible to live with, because it’s challenging your actual survival to breathe.

I now see that yoga and breathing are part of my life’s work that I need to keep close to me otherwise anxiety rules me. I want to be the ruler of my life and so I choose yoga!

bracelets & postcard affirmation

7. Be the light

Life can bring alot of pain. And it’s easy to get sucked into that black hole spiraling downwards into nothing. I know because I had to crawl my way out of it years ago. Even some days, I have to crawl up and forward to yoga. Yoga is a choice just like sitting on the couch or moving is. Just like letting the world tell you who you are or knowing exactly who you are.

I started to see that if I want light in my life, the best and surest way to get that is to be it myself.

Whatever you feel you’re lacking, start giving that in any way you can. If you feel you’re lacking love, start giving love to those around you. If you feel you wish you knew you were pretty to the world, start telling the people in your world how pretty you think they are! If you want to feel better in your life, go out there and do better for you! If you want more light in your life, go out there and be the light! Mostly, be the light for you first. If you’re thinking about trying yoga, I want to encourage you to follow that feeling and say he** yes! Take the lead and grab a friend or use your courage to go by yourself and say hello to one new person. Open yourself up! Remember this: for good things to begin, take a chance.

 

Do you practice yoga, comment below! If you have any questions or want to reach out personally, please feel free to email me at fierceforward@live.com.

xo,

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  1. […] now I’m a girl who genuinely loves and relies on her yoga practice. Aside from the fact that it’s my life teacher, yoga creates a calm in my day that I look forward to each morning. And I’ve even built […]