33 1/2 Things Your Asana Practice Might Teach You

I’m borrowing this from fuckyeahyoga.  There are some good tips in here!  Enjoy!

  1. You can’t keep a secret from your mat. That deep, dark monster you’ve been pushing into the back of your mind WILL come to the surface in your asana practice. LET IT. It will melt away with your sweat. LEAVE IT. Don’t pick it back up on your way out.
  2. Never wear pants that have holes in the crotch. If you do, your instructor will 100%-without-a-doubt do crotch exposing poses, and you will be mortified. Toss out the hole-y pants before you get into this horrifying predicament.
  3. Block out any outside thoughts. They taint your practice.
  4. Don’t wipe your sweat off. It’s distracting, and it makes you sweat even more.
  5. In your asana practice, comparison is the root of all evil. Never compare yourself to anyone; it will ruin you.
  6. Ladies: always place your ponytail on the top of your head or towards your neck. If you put it in the middle of the back of your head, it will hurt like no other in savasana.
  7. Be conscious in your practice. Don’t set expectations, but keep your mind open. You never know what you may learn.
  8. Don’t look around the room, especially when you’re trying to balance. There will always be that person adjusting their bra or picking their wedgie. Ignore them, however intriguing they may seem.
  9. Expose your heart and hold nothing back. Putting limitations in place is crippling, both physically and mentally.
  10. No matter what you might think, your clothes make no difference. What did the ancient yogis wear when they practiced asana? Probably nothing. If those in our past practiced naked, why are we so obsessed with our matchy matchy outfits? It. does. Not. Matter!
  11. Keep your water out of the way. Your instructor might trip over it and knock it over. A huge thud will ensue, and the entire class will lose their focus.
  12. No disgruntled facial expressions. A, they build tension. B, they make you look goofy, and C, they make your breath falter. Smile. You’re doing the best thing possible for your mind, your body, and your spirit (even though it might not feel like it when you’ve been holding that warrior 3 for 15 seconds).
  13. Just because the person next to you can do a certain pose a certain way does not mean that your pose will look like theirs. We are all unique. Something that feels good to me might make your big toe cringe or your make your elbow tingle. If it does, don’t do it.
  14. “How long is she going to make me hold this?” Number one thought that creeps into your mind in my asana practice? Get rid of it. The key to success = mental discipline. “I’m doing something wonderful for my mind (and body) by holding this pose. I CAN do it.”
  15. Be careful with your playlists. Some poses + some songs make for super awkward situations.
  16. You may be able to do something one day and not the next. Remember, our bodies are in a state of constant change. We build new cells, new fibers, and new structures every second of every day.
  17. When you’re doing a chaturanga and the smell of your mat literally makes you gag, it’s time to clean it.
  18. Let the wonderful things you create for yourself on your mat permeate into your life off the mat. The positive mental state that your asana practice offers you might be exactly what someone in the outside world needs.
  19. Enjoy your savasana. It’s nearly impossible to get the calm, quiet feeling that you achieve after asana anywhere else.
  20. Don’t underestimate your physical capabilities. Your body is an amazing piece of architecture. It is stronger than you think.
  21. Moving out of poses quickly is way easier than flowing slowly and holding them. Try it.
  22. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe, and breathe a bit more.
  23. Accept the fact that you may never be able to make your standing bow or your warrior look like a magazine picture. It doesn’t matter what it looks like. What matters is how it makes you feel.
  24. Asana is a practice. Your practice gets stronger every time you visit your mat. Practice, practice, practice. Your mat will get lonely if you don’t.
  25. Forget about your to-do list. Your mat doesn’t care how many loads of laundry you have to do and it doesn’t care about your biology homework. Your mat cares about your well-being. Listen to it.
  26. Don’t worry about looking silly when attempting certain postures. Chances are, every single person in the room will also look like a total goober. It’s all good.
  27. Don’t rush your asana practice. There is something incredible about asana: you have the rest of your life to improve it.
  28. Be mindful of how close you are to your mat mates. Smacking them in the face when going into eagle or giving them a little feel up in standing separate leg stretching may not be what they had in mind when they decided to come to yoga.
  29. Your asana practice is like your significant other. Sometimes it frustrates you. Sometimes it makes you happy. Sometimes you may not want to spend time with it, but once you do, you feel all warm and fuzzy and wonderful. No matter what, you love it’ you keep coming back to it.
  30. If you feel like you are going to throw up, you probably aren’t. However, lie down anyway. Tell your ego to take a hike. It won’t kill you to skip a few postures.
  31. Yoga gives you courage. Stop running away from the things that you dread. Stop building walls between your mind and the truth. The truth may hurt, but like they say, it WILL set you free.
  32. If you think you’ve finally achieved the perfect standing forehead to knee or the perfect camel, you probably haven’t. There is always somewhere else to go. This is what makes asana so beautiful. Everyone may be in the same posture, but we are all at different levels; we are all working for something different, something exclusive to our bodies.
  33. Never feel guilty about taking time for yourself and completing your asana practice. We must be kind to ourselves before we become fully capable of being kind to those around us.  (33 ½. If you allow it, your asana practice will teach you to love yourself. Asana will teach you that being kind to your body/mind/soul/heart is all that matters in the end.)

Be present. Be positive. Practice often. Love deeply. Don’t run from reality. Transform inwardly.


About yogajolie

I'm a work in progress. Give me a sunny day at the beach followed by a late afternoon thunderstorm. My flip flops and running shoes somehow find rank and file among the melee of Manolos and high boots in my closet. I think finding bliss on a yoga mat is sheer happiness, but also enjoy lacing up and suffering...just a little bit...on a long run. Maybe this comes from my start in life. It began in Chicago, but we spent weekends and summers in a small beach town in Southwest Michigan. City mouse meets country mouse. Yin and yang. Juxtaposition. Balance. I'm fiercely independent, but after thirty-some-odd years on this planet realized that I'm also a little old-fashioned. *go figure* I'm mildly addicted to Kombucha. And eye cream. (I'm all about the moisturizer.) I appreciate good manners. Chivalry. Please and thank you. That's not to say that there isn't a little urban girl, punk rock heart still beating in my chest. There is. I've lived a lot of life so far...and miles to go before I sleep. So, that's me. I'm an East Coast girl with punk rock heart and a yoga soul. Practicing, playing, teaching and sharing as much as I can. I currently teach at two studios--it will be three as of September 1st, as I was recently named the Advanced Yoga class/workshop instructor for the newest location. Outside of my home studios, I offer workshops and private yoga lessons as well. Contact me if you want more information!
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