I’m wistfully looking back to our mini vacation to Gainesville, Florida in mid-August. Gainesville is home to the University of Florida, of course, but it’s also home to loads of beautiful historic buildings and beloved local businesses like Satchel’s Pizza, Maude’s Side Car Cafe, and so many more. My boyfriend James went to college here and we both like the city, so we come back on occasion. I decided to spend my spare (thank goodness!) Saturday morning on a drop-in Yoga class. I was super lucky to find out that your first class at Searchlight Yoga is free and I loved it so much that I will definitely be back for another “Foundations of Yoga” class the next time I’m in town and I’m really hoping to take another session with Karen, who was lovely and had a great way of explaining what was next and how to achieve your best practice.
While Yoga isn’t going to replace my usual cardio or weight workouts, it’s definitely something I want to continue doing from time to time because not only is it great for my flexibility and toning my core, but it’s also really great for my mind. I feel relaxed the entire duration of the class and leave feeling resolved of my previous anxieties (which I have many, all the time) and am then free to move onto whatever is next in my day.
Yoga’s teachings make me a better, happier person, which in turn makes me a better creative, and here’s why.
Live in the Present. During a class, your whole goal is to focus on the current tasks that you’re doing. Which is breathing, a specific pose, or both of those things. It pares your needs down from work, family, goals, bills, and anything else you have going on and forces you to work only on your breathing. It cuts out all other noise and coaxes you into living in the present. If I asked you where you live, would you say the name of a city or state? Or would it be something more like ‘my past’ or ‘the future’? Many people catch themselves focusing on the past or future rather than what’s in front of them because we have so many choices and worries in our lives, but if we can train ourselves to be more self aware and to focus only on our breathing and a set of specific poses for an hour on a regular basis, then we can train ourselves to focus on the present even when we’re not actively practicing Yoga. We can live in the present while we’re building our businesses and brands, while we’re spending time with friends and family, and even while we’re running errands and commuting to work. There’s beauty in all aspects of our lives, we just have to actively realize it.
Reach Towards Organic Growth. During each class I’ve taken, I’ve heard the instructor offer a few options for modifying a pose. There aren’t a lot of other activities that offer this kind of option, but it’s such an encouraging and realistic approach to learning something new and to life in general. We’re all different and require our own space and time to accomplish our goals and Yoga gives you that time and space. It’s not a competition and it allows your to be as selfish as you need to be. Not quite able to do a pose fully? Take your time. Modify. Is this pose one of your stronger ones and you’re able to hold Warrior 2 as long as the instructor asks you to? Celebrate. Yoga understands that you can’t be the best overnight, but it encourages you to be YOUR best. In Yoga and in business, hard work and persistence are rewarded.
Know the Rules to Conquer Them. Your teachers will show you what the pose should look like and describe what it should feel like so you know exactly what you’re aiming for. You know that your hard work of holding that pose a little longer each time, focusing on your breath, modifying when needed, that you are going to hit the mark. Yoga teaches you that if you know what you’re aiming for, you’re gonna take names.
As a new Yoga student, I’m still learning with each class, but even in just the dozen classes I’ve taken I can feel that Yoga is more than just a relaxing activity or a way to exercise, but it’s also a way of life that can help improve all aspects of myself as a person. I’m always looking for metaphors and stories to hold onto and make myself better with, but Yoga has really helped to bridge so many ideas together that to me equate to success.
Good luck in finding some meaning and peace in your day today and I hope we’ll get to enjoy some Yoga together one day.