How You Can Feel the Benefits of Daily Yoga Off the Mat
Why I started to take yoga off of the mat:
In a bout of misery and defeat, I typed into Google: “What are the benefits of daily yoga?”
Numerous articles threw around promises like:
“Find more inner peace”
“Build your confidence and self esteem”
“Be more mindful in your every day life”
I was so excited by these promises that I went to my local studio practically every day and did a different class.
Even though I loved the classes and did have the endorphin high after class, it wasn’t trickling into my everyday life.
I still found myself stressed at work and beating myself up over small things. I didn’t feel that high self-confidence, and I most definitely did not feel inner peace.
Why wasn’t I feeling the benefits that the articles had promised?
The articles are very much true. Yoga and meditation do teach you to connect to your body and mind, to become aware of your thoughts, to slow down and dispel stress.
The only issue was that I was doing all of this on the mat, yet reverting back to my old ways immediately after I left the studio.
It wasn’t until I started taking these ideas off of the mat and into my daily life that I started to see real tangible change in my happiness levels.
1. I started to find more ways to incorporate meditation in my daily life. A daily morning and evening practice along with remembering to take a breath (or 5!) whenever I felt myself spiraling.
2. It can be easy to judge your own practice if your mind isn’t quiet during your meditation. A way to combat this, is to not be a harsh critic. Sometimes I sit with tea and just sit with myself without checking my phone for 5-10 minutes, and I count that as a meditation. Sometimes it’s a mindful walk–whatever works for you!
Frequent body check-ins
Your body holds so much knowledge– especially when you get in touch with your intuition. Body scans became a frequent part of my day to help me make decisions.
Practicing more kindness
There is a principle of yoga called Ahimsa, which means non-violence. It is about being kind and compassionate toward yourself and others. This spans negative self talk, gossip and actions. I stopped beating myself up and replaced it with giving myself grace. Then, I did the same for others. With more empathy and forgiveness, situations that would have been a code red were dialed back to only a minor offense.
Another yoga principle is Satya, which stands for truth. Often, I would compromise my needs in order to help someone else. I didn’t know how to set boundaries or say no. Now, I practice actually saying what I feel (kindly, of course) even if it isn’t what others want to hear.
Living in alignment
1. I was stuck in a job trying to make the best of it, yet it wasn’t the best environment for me to grow and thrive. While tuning into my intuition, I realized that I was simply staying in this job for the security. With a plan in place, I took the leap and found something that was more fitting for me.
2. Yoga helped me slow down and tune into what path I truly wanted to go. It connects the mind and body so that you can recognize what your inner knowing is trying to tell you.
Feeling fear and doing it anyway
Finally, in yoga, we learn that fear can be the main cause of not getting into a pose. Perhaps, we are afraid of falling, so we don’t even attempt to try handstand. Or, we’re nervous that we are not strong enough to hold ourselves up, so crow is an absolute no-no. When we recognize the fear and push forth cautiously, we feel a deep sense of freedom. Like releasing a heavy weight we’ve been carrying for no reason.
So, I put these 4 principles into action.
1. I started trusting that everything would work out.
2. I started showing up with more confidence in myself.
3. I started speaking my truth and telling people how I really feel.
4. I started giving myself grace and being gentle.
This is when everything changed. My energy was higher, and I could feel this magnetic vibration I was giving off. Then from here, it was a snowball effect. I started to live in alignment with what I truly wanted and trusted that it would all unfold exactly how it was supposed to.
Of course, it’s not rainbows and butterflies every day, but by abiding by these principles, I know I can weather whatever is thrown my way.
So, I hope you too can find more contentment by practicing yoga on and off the mat.