3 Things I Forgot About Yoga

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Yesterday I went to my first yoga class in almost 2 years.

That’s a long hiatus considering how often I was going for years…

But I just turned 31, and decided that it’s time to start prioritizing my health again.

So I found a studio near my new house, looked up the class schedule, and found a one hour evening flow class, and booked (and paid for) my spot online to make sure that I didn’t punk out.

I wasn’t sure what to expect.

photo from a few years ago @ Life Yoga Studio in New Orleans – by Suzy rivera

Sure, I’ve taken lots of classes in the past, but I’d never been to this particular studio before, and I had no idea what the instructor would be like, or if I’d walk into a room full of handstanding, pretzel-bodied yogis prepped for a way more advanced class than I was ready for.

I reminded myself that everyone starts somewhere and tried to quiet the self-judgement going through my head.

Still – I almost didn’t go…

As I approached the front door, I was super confused about how to get inside….was there a class going on right on the other side of the door that I couldn’t see? Should I knock? Try the door? Wait for someone else to arrive and see what they do? No. I read the sign. It says “enter through side gate.” *whew*

I walked through an unexpectedly cute and spacious garden before entering the small studio.

Immediately, I was greeted by the warmest, friendliest handshake and ‘nice to meet you’ from the instructor, Katherine.

With still almost 30 minutes til class time, she showed me around and let me get set up in the shala.

Inhale.

Exhale…

And then something really really magical happened.

In this empty room that I’d never been in before, all alone, I suddenly felt completely relaxed, safe, and at home.

That’s when I remembered what I loved so much about this practice, but somehow forgot…

Yoga people are really fucking nice

As the room filled up and my self-consciousness of being 15 pounds heavier than my last practice kicked in, I was actually relieved that other students offered friendly, genuine ‘hello’s!’ as they entered. Throughout the practice, no one was there to show off or ‘outdo,’ we all just breathed together.

There’s always something new to learn

When class began, the instructor announced that we’d be spending the entire class working up to one, single, challenging pose. SHIT. As the class progressed, I was fairly certain it was going to be Eagle Pose – one that I’ve always found not just difficult, but super uncomfortable once I was able to get into it. Nothing about this pose ever made sense to me. I wanted to UNWIND, not feel like I was being tied into a knot. But guess what I found out: it was uncomfortable because I’d been doing it wrong the whole time. Katherine broke down the pose into such individual components that I was able to see the difference between what I was doing (squeezing my shoulders and hips and everything else into a tight knot in order to hold the pose) and how it’s supposed to be done (relaxing the shoulders and hips and pressing the elbows and knees together with a gentle lift). Towards the end of class, we were all in Eagle Pose, and I felt my back begin to actually stretch out, and it felt so amazing that I almost cried with relief.

Yoga classes are like mini retreats for the soul

I walked into class exhausted from the work day and super stressed out. With every exhale, all of that melted away. And when it was over, I walked out clear-headed, relaxed, and yet energetic. I felt…happy.

In the past, this excitement would have fueled me to immediately sign up for a daily yoga challenge package or build some kind of unrealistic practice schedule.

But one thing I have learned about myself over the past few years is that I constantly set unrealistic goals, and then feel disappointed in myself when I don’t reach them…

So for now, I’m easing back in slowly, one week at a time.

 

How are you going to make 2017 your BEST YEAR YET?

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Way back in 2010 when the internet was still weird, I posted an overambitious blog post about my New Year’s Resolutions.

Although I didn’t check everything off of the list, I did feel accountable once it was out there.

2010 also happened to be the year I started my company, Conversations, so I’ve always reflected on this post as “the very beginning” of building the life and career that I wanted – one positive step at a time. 

This year, instead of outlining my own resolutions, I talked to some of the people who inspire me the most and found out what they’ve got planned for the upcoming year….

aileen

Aileen Bennett, Speaker, Communication Consultant, Author

So far my plans are twofold : To Do Good Work, and to Do Good.

Do Good Work: I’m proud of the work I’ve done this year, and the companies I’ve helped so I want to continue that. I plan to do the best work of my career.

Do Good: I’m setting up a new company that produces paper goods (to start) that gives at least 23% of the profits (sometimes more) to arts & community projects. It’s going to be called Two&21 (the two letters in the alphabet that correspond to B and U (Be you).

ginevra

Ginevra Kirkland, Writer, Community Whisperer, Entrepreneur

Revolutions, not resolutions!

I’m going to stop using words I don’t mean and be more impeccable with how I address people “Just,” “I’m so bad at this,” “sorry,” and the worst one of all: “I think.”

moneyguns

Michael Schexnayder, Entrepreneur and founder of The Money Gun

  • Learn Spanish
  • Learn Dutch
  • Stop procrastinating
  • Focus more on my business
  • Start another business
  • Work a lot less

screen-shot-2016-12-30-at-10-02-17-am

Lexlee Overton, Intuitive Energy Healer

I took a few minutes and thought about the things which when I do them cost me dearly by being huge drains of energy. And I am simply making a commitment (as much as possible) to no longer do things that zap my energy and take a considerable amount of time to recharge.

Here’s few items on my “No Longer Doing It”  list:

  1. Using email/phone, ipad/computer after arriving home
  2. Working weekends
  3. Late night flights
  4. Listening to or participating in conversations which are negative, judgemental or critical about others

ernestsvenson

Ernie Svenson, Author & Founder of Small Firm Bootcamp

I plan to list 10 things that I want to accomplish in 2017, and then describe the actions that lead to those goals.

I will sign up for Michael Hyatt’s BYE course and do all the exercises.

That’s how I hit my marks in 2016.

bologna

Megan Bologna, Fitness Guru and Personal Trainer

For me, 2017 will be all about personal growth.

Between having my daughter 2 years ago and running my business every day 24/7, I haven’t focused on myself or taken care of myself like I should. Being a fitness professional, I have maintained exercise and healthy eating, but I’m talking about mental and spiritual growth in 2017. I have already started by finding a women’s center that focuses on growth, healing and positive surroundings and I will be attending my first class on Friday!

lynncasper

Lynn Casper, Founder of Homoground

By visualizing lots of $$$

I currently work a fulltime gig with a set salary and realize that it is currently impossible for me to accomplish my financial goals (paying off credit card & dental debt) while still having money leftover for saving & spending. By visualizing all the ways I can use my skills and current projects to bring in more cash flow, I’ve gained confidence in my abilities to make this happen. Now I have 2 new clients and have set up new systems for my current projects so that I can be more organized and productive. I was never a morning person, but now before bed I visualize how my morning will be and what my life will be like once I accomplish the goals I set for myself to provide motivation to rise and SHINE!

Got big plans of your own for 2017?

Add them to the comments below!

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