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I DID, AND IT’S DEFINITELY THE BEST THING I DID FOR MYSELF IN 2015!
A few weeks ago I embarked upon the 100 Days project, and my “project” was to practice yoga for 100 consecutive days.
I have been documenting the project on Instagram because the 100 Days Project is really an Instagram thing, but every once in a while, I post something on the Facebook page.
A couple days ago I posted this:
A friend of mine who was also Number 6’s preschool teacher last year and who is a yoga instructor and who introduced the kids to yoga in preschool left this comment:
I think it’s great that you are enjoying practicing yoga, but remember yoga isn’t about being able to do a pose worthy of a Yoga Journal magazine cover. It’s also about the breath, peace of mind and the way we conduct ourselves in life. The poses are just one part of yoga. The only reason I share this is because I have so many people say” I can’t do yoga, I’m not flexible.” You have a great a platform and it’s great to share the health benefits of yoga (balance, greater flexibility etc) but many might not be able to do those things or are afraid to try. But we all do breathe and can live by the guiding principles of kindness to self and others that yoga promotes.
I’ve been thinking a lot about that comment, because she is right.
If you follow me on Instagram (notyouraveragemomofficial), you’ll see that yoga for me is more than just the poses.
But I don’t have half as many followers on Instagram as I do on Facebook.
There is a huge misconception about yoga, and I don’t want to be contributing to that.
Yoga isn’t about “getting a yoga body.”
That’s what many people in the fitness industry has turned it into, though.
Yes, yoga is exercise. But it’s exercise for your body and for your mind. It’s SO MUCH more than a workout. It’s a school of philosophy encouraging “physical and mental liberation from the material world.”
Talk about decluttering!
Yoga’s purpose isn’t to get you a six pack.
But if you follow its principles, if you regulate what you eat and if you exercise regularly and if you get enough sleep and if you take time to relax, you will get that yoga body as a bonus.
The yoga body comes from practicing all aspects of yoga.
But more importantly, a sense of peace, a calmness, and a heightened awareness of your self and your purpose comes from practicing all aspects of yoga.
And really, when you achieve those other things, when you achieve peace and evolution, you will find that the yoga body doesn’t matter.
The yoga body or the pose worthy of a magazine cover is very far down the list of priorities.
And that’s why I have embarked upon this yoga journey.
It’s not about the yoga body. It’s not about a six pack. It’s not about a side crow or a handstand.
For me it’s about a whole bunch of stuff.
Yes, it’s about pushing myself out of my comfort zone and challenging myself physically and mentally.
But it’s also about evolving, taking care of myself and being more in tune with my body.
It’s about being able to listen to what my body tells me it needs.
From the practice I’ve been doing since I started this 100 Days Project, my body is telling me it needs a lot more flexibility and my core needs more strength.
My brain is telling me it needs a better balance. It needs more sleep and it needs more down time. My brain is also telling me it still needs help learning how to regulate its emotions. without the help of food or alcohol or television or another person.
As I am moving into the second half of my life, as the kids seem to be growing faster than I can handle, as time seems to be passing at an exponentially increasing speed the older I get, the more I realize how mindlessly I’ve been living.
And that’s why I’m practicing yoga.
And I’d love to be instrumental in encouraging other people to do that.
It is for sure not a comfortable thing at first. Walking into a yoga studio can be extremely intimidating.
But a good yoga instructor will make sure you feel comfortable in the yoga studio, whatever level you start at.
And sure, there will be intimidating people in the class.
And that’s one of the things I love about yoga. There aren’t many forms of exercise, there aren’t many classes, fitness or music or educational or whatever, where people at completely different ends of the spectrum ability wise can practice together.
Every pose has variations. They all start at at very basic level, and they can all be made as challenging as you want to make them.
A complete yoga virgin and a chick who can smell her own ass can both be in the same class on a mat right next to each other.
The ones who are able to get their feet behind their ears and who are doing yoga in order to gain a heightened awareness of themselves won’t care what you look like or what you are capable of doing. They’ll be supportive and kind and non judgmental. Because that is the true yogi way.
And any good instructor will tell you that if a pose is too much, you can always come back to child’s pose. One of the most basic poses, and just focus on your breath.
How many times have you told someone or been told by someone to take a deep breath?
That is yoga in it’s purest and simplest form!
We tell our kids to take deep breaths and count to ten as one way to deal with their anger.
That’s yoga, too, really!
So yeah. I’m doing yoga for a million reasons.
I watched my aunt and my grandmother deteriorate physically much earlier than I thought they should have.
My great aunt lost her balance and my grandmother lost her strength.
I don’t want to lose the limited flexibility I have now.
I want to be able to turn to my breath when I am stressed or angry or scared or ready to lock all my kids in a closet.
I want to be gentler to my body.
I want to be able to distinguish more easily between the times when my body is telling me I shouldn’t do something and when my brain is just trying to convince me that I can’t.
I want to be mindful of the things I put into my body and the words and actions that come out of it.
And yeah, if I’m being honest, I really want to be able to do a handstand and that fucking side crow, too.
And those are the reasons why I’ve chosen to do 100 days of yoga.
So I may be sharing more of my yoga journey on Facebook now. And not just the “pose” pictures. But the ones that are more demonstrative of the other aspects of yoga, too.
Because my goal has never been to intimidate anyone.
It’s been to inspire anyone who thinks they aren’t strong enough or young enough or thin enough or flexible enough.
And now my goal is to make sure I’m sending a clear message that it’s about much, much more than, too.
To have a yoga body, you only need two things.
You need to be able to breathe, and you need to have a body.
And we’ve all got that.