I've always struggled with living in the present moment. I tend to jump to my next task before I've finished the one I'm currently working on. This tendency to rush through to-do lists like I'm on a game show is why yoga has never come easy to me.
For years, practicing yoga seemed like an unattainable goal that I just wasn't meant to achieve. I would always be too manic, too inflexible, too unbalanced.
Yoga was not going to be something I could incorporate into my life. That was that.
Here's the thing though, yoga was never the problem; it was my mindset. I assumed I would fail before taking the time to step on the mat.
This year I decided to change that inner monologue. I unrolled the yoga mat that had been in my closet for over three years. I started an in-home yoga video and in turn, began to learn a little more about myself.
Failure is not the end all be all:
Yoga has taught me to fall and fail with grace. There are days where I am 100% balanced, centered, and ready for anything. There are days where I can barely focus on the task at hand. Understanding that every practice is not going to be perfect has spilled over into my daily life. Not every day is going to be a good day, but that doesn't mean you should stop trying. If I fall, I will be there to pick myself up. On and off the mat.
Setting aside time for yourself isn't selfish; it's a necessity:
Taking at least 30 minutes a day to myself has made a significant impact on my mental health. No matter how hectic my days become, I know I will always be able to seek solace on my mat. I used to view self-care as selfish, focusing all of my extra energy on others. I now understand that it's impossible to care for others without first tending to yourself. You can't pour from an empty pitcher; yoga has helped me fill mine.
Seek improvement rather than perfection:
When I first started practicing yoga, I could barely touch my toes. This setback alone was enough to push me away from the practice entirely. I tend to shy away from activities that I don't master immediately. Powering through the discomfort of being imperfect has taught me to value any improvement, no matter how small.
Work with your body, not against it:
After a decade of hatred and disconnect, I now understand that my body is not my enemy. Yoga has taught me that taking up space is sacred. Honoring the simplicity of movement, breath, and balance has helped me become more in tune with what my body needs. I now understand that my body is the only one I've got; I need to nurture it in every possible way.
When you find a form of self-care that you love, everything will change. Yoga has completely altered my perspective for the better. Unfamiliar tasks no longer seem impossible. I now see them as something that I can accomplish with practice, patience, and self-love. Focus on yourself, and the rest will follow.
- Makenzie D.