5 Lessons Yoga Teaches You

1. You can't give 100% for 100% of the time.

Yoga is a practice, which means it's meant to be a part of your life forever. If you give 100% to your practice 100% of the time, you're likely to burn out. Pacing yourself to make yoga a lifelong practice means consistently putting forth a sustainable amount of energy; you can't sustain getting on your mat 3 hours a day, 7 days a week! The same is true with your mind & spirit - you need rest to give yourself time to heal and recharge. You can't give 100% of your mental and emotional energy to everyone else all of the time or you won't have enough leftover for yourself. Make sure your pace is something you can maintain for the long haul in life.

2. Discomfort is evidence of change. 

Discomfort in a posture is physical evidence that you're changing your body. In life, discomfort is evidence you've been pushed out of your comfort zone, and thus, are changing yourself. If you can look at discomfort in this way, your relationship to it might change. Instead of avoiding it, you might seek it, knowing it's the path to personal growth. 

3. Slow, deep breaths always make everything better. 

Maintaining control of your breath is crucial in yoga. Deep breathing allows you to stretch more deeply, to tolerate the discomfort of a strenuous posture and to support the union between mind, body and spirit. Deep breathing helps the same way in life. When you're struggling to be flexible & let go of control, try a few deep breaths to ground yourself. When you're fighting back anger, slowly inhale & exhale to calm yourself. And when you need help getting through an uncomfortable situation, focus on your breath to remind you that things always get better eventually.

4. Life is about the journey, not the destination. 

Yoga is not a goal that you can accomplish or a sport that you can win. Many of the important things in life are also practices like health, love, connection and happiness. Health is not a place you get to, but rather is made up of everyday choices and behaviors. Love and connection are not something you find and have forever without effort, but are rather things to be worked at everyday. Devote and dedicate yourself to these practices, as they are the keys to true happiness and fulfillment. 

5. Results aren't everything. 

Our society is so caught up in results. In yoga, the focus becomes getting our bodies to contort into the perfect posture, but postures (asanas) aren't the point of yoga. Yoga is all about the union of mind and body, staying connected to your breath, being fully present, loving your body, and breaking down mental and physical barriers. The postures are just one way for us to practice our yoga - they provide the opportunity for this union and transformation to happen. In life, we set goals and want to reach them, but the true point is the process, the lessons we learn along the way, the personal growth that happens, and the polishing and refining of our mind body and spirit as we live life. 

What lessons has yoga taught you? Leave a comment below!

Ashley VelasquezComment