For a long time, yoga was just a workout to me. I hated the flowery language and the OMs. I just wanted to get my sweat on and get home.
Over the past few months, I’ve come to feel like I can actually say I have a yoga “practice”. I’m constantly being challenged in class and looking to improve. I’ve learned what poses I can try (all I want is to stay in Crow for more than 3 seconds) and I know which ones I’m not ready for…yet. I stopped feeling competitive and started turning my focus inward. I started setting intentions.
I’ve been following my blogger friend Kristyn for a couple years now. (Does that sound creepy? Only virtually, I swear.) I think we initially connected because she’s a fellow Jets fan, but I also love all the uplifting things she always posts on Twitter and Instagram – often yoga related. She’s one of those people who just shines and makes you want to smile. Just through social media, she’s taught me to see the beauty in every moment. (Amazing what 140 characters can do, huh!) The point is, she has an obvious passion for yoga and it has been rubbing off on me. I think that’s why my mindset started to change.
Another yoga-loving friend is Emily, one of my best friends since 7th grade.
I didn’t even realize how much she loved yoga until she started posting #yogaeverydamnday photos on Instagram. I was a bridesmaid in her (beautiful!) wedding a couple weeks ago and was brought to tears as she explained through her vows that she would set her intention in yoga class to be a better person for Andy (her husband). And more really sweet things that I can’t remember now.
Anyway, seeing the passion these two lovely ladies have for yoga (and how much they radiate happiness) got me thinking. If they’re that excited about it, it must be doing something good for them, right? Right. And as it turns out, that passion is contagious and I think I’m catching the bug. What was once just a workout for me has become something much more.
I started listening in class and learned to love the positivity I was soaking up. I loved it so much that I decided to supplement my practice with this book. It guides you through, basically, changing your life by focusing on love. (Kristyn introduced me to this author!)
In the past, I thought this type of stuff was silly and super awkward. There was an episode of Sex and the City where Charlotte goes to a seminar and the lecturer says a few things that are similar to the message in this book: mainly, choosing love over fear. I remember watching that scene and laughing. It sounded so vague and meaningless. Choose love over fear. What does that even mean?
When I started really trying to understand the affirmations in the book and believing that a positive attitude can change the direction of my life, I was immediately uplifted. I feel like I have the power to make a difference in my own life. I mean, I can’t summon up a thousand dollars (sure would help) or make a puppy appear out of thin air (if only!) but at the ripe ol’ age of 29, I’m finally starting to understand that quote about changing your attitude if you can’t change your circumstances. And that, pals, is a beautiful, freeing feeling.
Back to my wonderful friends. One of Gabby’s affirmations is “The light I see in others is a reflection of my inner light”. Because they sprinkle positivity all over the place, they’re each helping me become a better, brighter, overall happier person. Does that make any sense? Bueller?
Still, this certainly doesn’t mean things will be perfect. I’m trying to take it day by day. Some days it “works” and I feel super optimistic. Other days, one tiny little thing will go wrong and then an avalanche of annoying, stupid little things will come falling down. I’ll be frustrated with the cable company, and then hit my head on the freezer door (yes, I did this) and then I see all the pots in the sink that I need to hand wash, and then I get an email about being turned down for a freelance job, and then I start thinking about how broke I am, and my anxiety just hits the roof. From there, I’ll alternate thinking how ridiculous it is that freaking dishes are stressing me out and how good my life is, and thinking that everything sucks. Sometimes I still end up sulking and pouting and feeling sorry for myself, even though I know there are people with much, much bigger problems. I’m lucky, I know it…and it’s embarrassing to even write that I ever act or feel that way.
These are the times I need to change my attitude. I want to stop letting those little things get to me; something that has been harder since our move, for some reason.
But let’s go back to the positive. I’m lucky I have this guy to share the journey with.
I guess my point is to say that there’s always going to be tough times and yoga and affirmations aren’t a cure for every ailment. I still spend time in yoga class thinking about how tough even downward dog sometimes feels. That although this past Tuesday I held a plank for a minute, this morning I felt like I couldn’t even hold one for 15 seconds. The most important lesson I’m learning is that I won’t always be marching forward. Sometimes I have to take a couple steps back to see the bigger picture. But eventually, when you have clear intentions and a positive outlook, you’ll end up ahead.