I received a free pass to Maine YogaFest, but all thoughts, opinions, and life changing moments are my own. I was not compensated for this post.
I hope you have something super totally awesome planned out for the week's end...even if that means sweatpants are worn each and every day...all day. No experience with that or anything...
So I've touched on how yoga changed my life before, but I hadn't even finished my 30 Day Yoga Challenge yet.
Now that it's under my yogi belt, and the excitement of Maine YogaFest is stockpiled until 2017, I've had some time to reflect on what else yoga has taught me.
...Besides the whole like life-altering impacts it made on my health and all. Pocket change.
Stop Living for the Weekends
I was very much a "Is it Friday yet?!" on Monday kinda person, and while I still welcome the weekends with Journey-esque Open Arms, I'm starting to embrace every day of the week as it's own.
Doing something as simple as getting an ice cream, playing some tennis, or (you guessed it) doing some yoga outside makes the weekdays something to look forward to in their own sense.
I know it sounds cheesy to say, but each day is another day to be alive. Why wait to be alive for only two days of the week?
[Tweet "Why wait to be alive for only two days of the week? #EnjoyEachDay #StopLivingForTheWeekends"]
Practice Makes Mindfulness
Commitment is hard. Habits are hard. Especially for this easily distracted and over the place kinda gal. But I told myself I could commit to 20ish minutes of yoga each day...I was worth it. And so was the commitment.
A lot of the times I would put off my workouts, or dread going for runs simply because I felt like I had to do it. But yoga was different. I actually looked forward to each day, and the surprise of what the day's practice would focus on.
Yes, there were days where I didn't practice, but there were also days when I did two sessions. Completing 30 days of a yoga ritual taught me to stay present, take the day as it comes, and that's it. Not focus on tomorrow, or dwell on yesterday. But be here. In the moment. Completely.
It's More than Just Exercise
from Mindfulish_ Instagram
So doing yoga alone in your bedroom watching a YouTube video on a laptop doesn't exactly conjure up the sense of community, but it very much did. Simply seeing how many others had watched the same yoga routine i was doing meant I wasn't alone in this challenge.
Going to Maine YogaFest only helped solidify the feeling. People of every age, size, color, and experience all in it together for the same reason.
It may sound a little woo woo, but I felt an overwhelming amount of energy in each class I took at the Yoga Festival. Positive energy. Everyone working on their own internal journey, but together as one. It was all kinds of awesome.
Which makes yoga so so much more than just a workout, for the body AND mind. It's a sense of community. It's working together without saying one word to each other. It's a sense of appreciation in all aspects of the word.
It's Effing Hard
Yoga is hard. Physically. Mentally. It's a challenge. And that's what makes it so worth it. There were days when I would be dripping in sweat. There were days when I felt like my arms were literally going to say eff it, and fall off my body. And my mind would start to follow suit, and tell me that I couldn't do it.
But pushing yourself just a inch farther than you think is your max makes a HUGE difference. In both body and mind. And makes you feel bad ass as hell.
...But So am I
I did a lot of new things to me at Maine YogaFest, which pushed me out of my comfort zone. I didn't know anyone. I'd only been seriously doing yoga for a month. I was intimidated as hell that I would be that girl rocking out a down dog while everyone else was clearly in plank.
But I went. 3 days in a row. And am so effing glad I did.
It was challenging (can you say back to back planks and pushups?! My arms can't...), but oh so rewarding. Being in a group of like-minded peeps always pushes my boundaries, motivates me to the edge, and inspires me to what I can achieve. I met so many motivational people that encouraged me without ever meeting prior to just that second. It was a gentle (but LOUD) reminder that I can do hard things, and there is still greatness in the world.
Don't Compare Your Child's Pose to Someone Else's Headstand
This goes along with more any other aspect of life, but became especially apparent in yoga. You don't know where other people are in their practice, and they don't know where you are. It could be the very first time, it could be 5 years as of today. Comparing your first day to someone's 5 year mark is stupid. Plain and simple. And it doesn't serve you. Which brings me to one of my favorite quotes...
"I'm not as x as her." Pick your poison, but comparison in any sense of the word does nothing positive for your life. The second I sense it, I remember to focus on me, and just me, and how I can be a better version of myself.
When I first looked at that picture above, I thought about how much of a noob I was, and remember how nervous I was about doing everything wrong. Now that I am a much older and wiser yogi 😉 I look at it and see how many new things I challenged myself to in just three days. I see my vulnerability, and how opening myself to that allows for change and growth. I see strength even through my improper form, trembling arms, and doubt.
Going to Maine YogaFest on top of completing 30 days of yoga opened up so much more mindfulness that the woo woo of yoga that I once rolled my eyes at makes perfect sense. The yoga festival was bursting with caring, supportive energy, encouragement, and inspiration. My one-on-one yoga dates with Adriene helped me heal internally and externally.
[Tweet "6 Unexpected Life Lessons Learned from Yoga + @MaineYogaFest review" #AD]
If I could tell you to take away one thing from this lengthy and mad deep post, it would be to focus on one thing you can do TODAY to make you more mindful. Meditate for 5 minutes. Write 5 things you're grateful for. Take the biggest deep breath of yo life. Just a glimpse of staying in the moment right here, right now is a giant leap into what greatness you can achieve, and what yoga did for me. Namas-flippin-te.
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Make it a great day!
Have you ever done a 30 day fitness challenge?
What mindfulness practices do you do, or want to do?