Since I started “practicing” yoga a few years ago, I have been on journey to do more classes than the year before. Very zen, I know – but I’m competitive, especially with myself – so I’ll own it. In honor of World Yoga Day, it’s been fun to reflect on what exactly yoga has brought to my life and how I’ve taken lessons off my mat and into my life, both personal and professional.
Ego is a b*tch, but you can leave her at the door
There’s a doormat on Pinterest that says “Check Your Ego at the Door.” I carry a mental version of it with me every time I go to class in preparation for the inevitable, ultra-flexible, younger leggy stunner in short shorts and a sports bra whose stance is at least a foot wider than my own. Whenever I find myself comparing my warrior two to hers, it’s usually because I’m straining to the point of a near muscle pull. By checking your ego at the door, whether it’s for yoga, relationship or career, your practice becomes about intention rather than competition.
Nothing (literally nothing) can happen without breath, so I’ve learned to make each one count. Long, deep and slow, in yoga breath moves us deeper. But the benefits of breathing intentionally have spilled beyond my practice into my parenting, leadership, and the everyday hustle. Not only can breathing take you from one pose to the other, it can move you from a challenge to a solution. When life demands courage, start with breathing.
Don’t overthink it – just go
I can talk myself out of anything. Especially if it’s deciding between an extra hour of sleep or braving the rain at 5:30am to get to class. There will always be a reason not to go: an upcoming presentation I need to prepare for, a general feeling of discomfort in my own body, a looming deadline or poor sleep the night before. Heck, even when I’ve done everything right — eaten well, drank enough water, slept a solid eight hours – I can still struggle to get to and through a 6am class. But I know the value that yoga brings to me, and the value I bring when I show up. Don’t overthink it – whatever it is – just go. Just show up, good things will come from your dedication.
Little things can have a big impact
Life is too short for leggings that don’t fit quite right and a sports bra that’s too small. My mother (whom I love to pieces) is notoriously frugal. I grew up encouraged not to want for things, to value moments and people over objects, and not to indulge. It took 200+ yoga classes to give myself permission to both enjoy the experience and buy more than one pair of Lululemon High Rise Wunderunder leggings. Feeling good isn’t just about feeling good in our own skin or the progress we note along the way; it’s also about giving yourself permission to take care of yourself, whatever that means to you.
The inside is harder than the outside
I try to tell myself that I have done enough classes to call myself a “yogi” now, but there’s always another stunning Instagram photo of aforementioned leggy young stunner suggesting that the woman I see in the mirror isn’t there yet. As hard as it is to change the way I look to the outside world, it’s even harder to change the way I see myself. But my outside doesn’t need to validate what’s inside. My practice helps me accept that my limbs, muscles, core, breath, state of mind, and physical and mental wellbeing are enough. The work you do inside isn’t visible on Instagram, and that’s ok.
Over the last few years, there have been several changes in my life. I credit yoga, and the lessons it’s taught me, with helping me keep it all together and arrive in 2019 with more energy, love and opportunity than I would’ve thought possible.
In fact, TVA’s company values, especially Balance, are directly inspired by what I’ve learned about self-care. Not only is it important for our mental and physical health, it helps us do and be better all around. This has helped us attract some brilliant talent and I hope will foster our growth into 2020 and beyond.
(Shout out to Bindi Yoga for taking me on this journey)