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Lessons from the Humble Yoga Mat

 

I’ve come to accept that yoga makes me happy. I’ve had the odd session lead by someone I can only liken to a space cadet in lycra, but generally, I find it is a guaranteed source of happiness. I think yoga can teach us urbanites useful lessons to apply well after your sweat-drenched yoga matt has been stowed away.  Curious Forager attempts to simplify life and get more out of life through little lessons learned. So foragers, if interested, here are some tips from the yoga matt today!

Quit comparing your self to others!

Yoga attracts all sorts – people with varying abilities, ages, some with amazing yoga bodies gift-wrapped in Lululemon clothing, and some not so athletic. It’s easy to compare yourself to the likes of Bendy Betty who can effortlessly bend her body like a perfectly formed pretzel. It’s important to remember other people are on journeys that are different – sometimes you have no idea what their journey is about. We need to strive towards our personal best irrespective of what others appear to have achieved. Sure, we look to others to benchmark our own successes but taking a break from judging yourself and others is so very liberating. Go on indulge yourself!

Stay real, authentic

If the poses are too hard don’t push yourself to master something that you you’re not ready to. You’ll get there when you’re ready. If you’re not a fully fledged yogi – don’t punish yourself – let it go! By all means explore beyond your comfort zone but don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right. Let go of whom you think you should be, and respect who you are, embrace who you are, without judgment. It’s all too easy to take your eyes off the four corners of your matt and take a sneak peek at the yoga prowess of others but in doing so, you take your eyes off your own path, and the magic you yourself can cultivate by doing the best you can well. Don’t worry about what others think of you and your ability – what they think is really none of your business!!

Whatever you do, do it well

If you’re a beginner attempting your first inversion or a veteran who has completed their millionth Downward Facing Dog, it’s important to do it mindfully and to the best of your ability. It’s easy to threaten the integrity of a pose and become complacent because you’ve aced it a million times before. On the same token, it’s easy to do some serious damage to yourself by putting your body through the ringer if . Be true to yourself, be present, and do it well!

Be kind to yourself! 

Some days you’ll master a pose, and other days you’ll feel weak. It’s OK – your body does that sometimes. Find comfort in your efforts, breath through the discomfort and laugh at yourself once in a while. Admittedly, this is my biggest challenge as I can be my own harshest critic. We all can be, but we should moderate our expectations so goals are realistic and achievable. Thankfully, by the end of a yoga session endorphins fire up and life gets so much better and it’s easy to be kind to yourself and others too.

And finally… pain doesn’t last. If you can breathe through the discomfort of yoga – you can endure alot in life! It conditions you to be strong and believe you can withstand physical and mental challenges life sometimes throws at you.

Namaste!

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