(Thank you to my guest author, Beth Dyer, who is a Holistic Wellness and Yoga Coach.)
When people ask me if there are really any lessons learned from yoga and my time as a hippy-dippy yogini (ok, nobody really calls me that), I normally try to dig deep and pull out some huge transformation I have made from my time of meditation, moving around on a mat, and saying “Ohm.” And if I’m being honest, I always do have a good story to tell, yoga is that amazing. Sometimes, however, I kind of want to keep it light and talk about all the amazing things yoga has taught me that I use day to day, in normal life situations.
Today I will share with you a bunch of practical lessons learned from yoga over the past 7+ years.
Lesson 1: I can keep my black pants way cleaner
Ok, don’t let me lose you already! I am so serious with this one! I have 3 kids, ages 5 and under, AND 3 dogs, 2 of which shed long hair. Needless to say, my floors get pretty dirty. Toys, cups, spoons and more get dropped, a lot. And lost on the floor under furniture, a lot.
So here I am, in my favorite black skinny pants (the kind that make your legs look long and skinny, and the pockets sit just right to make your hiney look nice and perky), and the baby drops his binkie and it rolls onto the floor in my bedroom. Well our big dog, Koa, is always jumping on and off the bed, kids are always climbing on and off, plus it’s right in the doorway of our bedroom so the floor right there is a high-traffic area and it gets dirty. But because of yoga, I can retrieve that binkie without getting my pants dirty all by knowing how to squat and twist and turn, instead of crawling around on hands and knees.
How this goes a bit deeper:
Really though, it is more than just not dirtying black clothes. It’s about the amazing connection and control I have over my body all because I hop on my mat each day, sometimes for an hour sometimes only 20 minutes. I love to be able to hone in on different areas of my body just by flexing muscles or moving joints just a little. When going in to check on my kids at night, I know how to glide in, past toys and squeaky boards, and make it over to my sleeping beauties without them hearing a peep. That’s like a magic power with my kids! But the time spent shows itself in some amazing ways! Like being able to keep dog hair and dirt off of my beautiful black pants!
Lesson 2: I now have a space to “get away”
Since embracing yoga as a way of life and not just something I do every once in a while, I now have a dedicated yoga room. It is very open, airy, light, and full of things that inspire me and bring me joy. I know that anytime I am getting bogged down by the day to day challenges, I can just go in there and my mood will immediately be lifted and I will be able to gather myself quickly and get into a better mindset.
In this room, I do things like Pranayama (breathing exercises) or a quick grounding meditation. The space is already set to channel any energy I try to create, so it really does make it a “safe space” for me to go and gather myself for any number of reasons. Shoot, sometimes I go in there, close my eyes and imagine myself on a beach with The Hubs and the kids safely away with grandparents for “however long I need” (their dream words, not mine).
Gone are the days of me running and seeking solace in my bathroom (well maybe not gone, but only when there is no other choice!). I was there for a looong time, and I am very glad to have a prettier, much better smelling room to be my “get away” space!
How this goes a bit deeper:
It’s so important for moms to have a place to go when things get overwhelming and you just need a minute. My yoga space is not only my “workout space”, or place for my physical practice, but also a place for my mental practice (read: place to go so I don’t totally lose my sh*t). And hey, even if it does have to be your bathroom, maybe just make a little corner or have a pretty picture you can look at or a candle you can light real quick (just remember to put it out before going back into the craziness waiting for you). It just needs to be any place you can go and gather yourself.
Lesson 3: I am now quite flexible
You’re probably thinking, yeah here it comes, yoga made you able to put your feet behind your head, how is that practical? Well, as it turns out I cannot put my foot behind my head, so there. What I mean is, I now have a more flexible mindset. If you follow me or work with me at all, you know I talk a lot about this.
When trying a new pose (or even a pose I’ve been working on for a long time), and I fall down or end up in some weird pose not so clearly inspired by the original one, I can either beat myself up about it or I can laugh. That being able to laugh is the flexibility I am talking about. Knowing that while I can plan out our day to a “T”, if the baby has a blow-out the minute we are walking out the door, there is just nothing I can do but laugh (frustrated laugh for sure) and try to get him cleaned up as quickly as possible.
How this goes a bit deeper:
Ahimsa is a yogic principle of restraint that translates into non-violence, and to bring this practice of nonviolence into life, having a flexible mindset is key! Now obviously this thought of non-violence can be thought of in terms of keeping your hands to yourself or not being violent in your actions, but it’s when you try to bring that non-violence into your thoughts and words that your mindset really gets tested. Practicing positive self-talk, being non-judgemental of ourselves and others, letting go of possessions in life that cause us stress, anger, or any other feelings that cause harm to our psyche, these are all things you can do in your life today (or at least start today). Life happens, and the more flexible we can be with our mindset, the easier we can manage all the crazy, stressful stuff that life throws at us.
There is no denying yoga and the yogic lifestyle have taught me many things; how to love myself and care for myself better, how to be mindful of my thoughts and actions, how to quiet my mind so I can tap into myself more deeply. Those are great for personal growth and from a transformation standpoint, what is less-shared among yogis are the real world examples of lessons we can actually apply to make our day-to-day lives easier. These are just a few fun examples of how yoga has changed my daily life, I would love to share more with you so I encourage you to follow me on my website and my Facebook page! I cannot wait to share more inspiration and yoga magic with you!
About the Author: Beth Dyer aka The Mama Bear Yogini, is a Holistic Wellness and Yoga Coach. Beth’s mission is to help all the amazing moms in the world tap into their “supermom” abilities through the power of yoga. By applying her own signature Branches of Wellness and the Yogic Path, Beth teaches moms how to apply the amazing lessons yoga has to teach us to find balance in all the craziness life has to offer. To learn more, please head on over to TheMamaBearYogini.com, follow her on Facebook, or reach her by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.