Guess who just finished her 8-month long yoga teacher training? Yes, that's me, if you were wondering (and by "you", I'm not quite sure who I'm talking to because I'm pretty sure I'm talking to myself). So, I'd like to share with you something that I think needs to be shared. Cupcakes, of course. We all know that those who don't share cupcakes will certainly not be rewarded in the next world, so tread lightly my dear friends. Besides cupcakes, though, I wanted to share with you a small tip. Practice yoga. Please, just do it. I should correct myself by suggesting everyone practice yoga at one point in their lives, even if it is just a one-time, eye-rolling, omg-get-me-outta-here experience. As a practicing yogini, I feel it is my civic duty to drop this small hint to the world.
The practice of yoga is not just some boring, yawn-fest consisting of downward dogs and tree poses. It's an experience that over time will take over your entire being- the mind, body and spirit. Yes, I said it- that Triple Threat we hear over and over again being mentioned by those we consider to be "hippie-dippie, La-dee-da and Kumbaya". Well, seriously, grow up, it's not 1992 anymore! Before you think I'm going to take it on down to Buddha-ville, just listen. How many opportunities does one get in the day to quiet the mind of those never-ending to-do lists, internal conversations with ourselves about things that happened last night, this morning, or will happen tomorrow, or turn our glance away from our smart phone, keyboard, or remote? During a yoga practice, one is able to turn their gaze inwards, away from the external, and focus on one's true self. True, you are doing physical work, but without realizing it, you are actually tuning out the distractions of the outside world and giving your mind the space to exhale. Perhaps this is why people find yoga to be so painful or boring. The stimulation is not solely received from the outside which is what most people are looking for, but rather it is found from within- and that, my lovelies, is where the real challenge begins.
If you practice yoga over a period of time, I can assure you that you will find your stress level has decreased. The beauty is that it will happen without you having even noticed- effortless! You will find that your reactions to situations and things normally found to be stress inducing will be altered. What you have done is trained your mind to slow down and take a moment. Over the past eight months, I increased my yoga practice to at least three times a week in addition to the weekend long trainings that were once a month. There was definitely a point where I noticed, "hey, why are my circuits not overheating?" when I was faced with a stressful situation at work or with a loved one, et al. It's that moment where you reap the benefits of your practice because really, the yoga we practice on our mats is only a preparation for the real practice that occurs off the mat aka the real world.
Oh, and one more thing: it's a PRACTICE. Change will come eventually, gradually, and to those who wait. Self-acceptance and non-judgement are cultivated as you realize that one day your balance sucks or another day you just can't stop mentally cursing out your teacher when she keeps making you do chair pose. IT'S OK! You notice these thoughts and sensations but practice the ability to acknowledge them and let them go. We often don't realize how harsh we are on ourselves. For what reason? Truly, our biggest enemy and our biggest fan turns out to be ourself. So, go easy, stay present, and be good to yourself. You'll find your best self this way...whatever "best" is that day!
If none of this has enticed you, how about the prospect of having a hot body?
Ok, you may or may not end up with a body like Giselle's, but I think you owe it to yourself to at least try. Would you ever pass up a cupcake that was offered to you, all frosted and fresh? Go on, take a bite and enjoy the moment .