Yoga is more than a type of exercise. It is a practice that takes time to develop, and works on both shaping your body and mind in an amazing way.
I used to think yoga was easy. I would do it on my off days. But as I grew and went through some major life changes, yoga became the center of my workouts.
Chelsea Koehnen: Yoga Teacher Extraordinaire
When I first got back into yoga shortly after I turned 40, I knew that I needed a teacher I could connect with. Someone that was more than the movement. I immediately knew that Chelsea was one of those people.
She starts every class with a thought of the day. Something relevant but also something you can take with you for life. Her passion for helping others love both the movement and mind spirit of yoga is apparent.
If you want to tune in, check her out on her Instagram account.
Life Changing Affects of Yoga
The thing about yoga is that it isn't just an exercise. It's a life reforming, better yourself from the inside out kind of deal.
Through the flow of yoga, you may be moving your body but the practice itself also teaches you how to deal with life. It helps you step out of your comfort zone, work on the parts of you that need some work and gives you a place to practice all of these things for real life.
Yoga as Exercise
I used to think yoga wasn't hard. It was something I thought of as an "off day" in my routine. But the reality was I wasn't doing it right.
We have this thought that if we aren't pumping your arms, jumping up and down and pushing our bodies hard with weights and high impact moves then it isn't a tough workout.
Chelsea taught me the opposite. She showed me how there is such strength in stillness. Holding a move with active muscles can very much increase our strength and cardiovascular ability.
So as it turns out, I was going into yoga with the wrong mindset and therefore not putting into it what I needed. Once I realized this, and stepped out of the comfort of typical gym workouts, started listening to the practice and putting in the work, I quickly realized that it not only helped me get stronger, but I reached one of the strongest points in my life.
As a human race, we are constantly going. So we are drawn to activities that are high energy so that we can feel like we are getting the most out of them.
There for when faced with an activity that slows us down, we naturally resist. And tell ourselves that it isn't for us.
However, when you shift your story, or are forced to shift it, we realize that it's not really the activity that is the issue, but it's us.
For example, if you get hurt and are told you can only do activities that are slower and lower impact, your mind is forced to accept something you previously didn't want to.
Yoga as a life practice
Our life patterns come up in many areas, one being in the yoga room. I am a go getter, always give 100%, so when I first started yoga I was constantly pushing myself to do it to the max.
I slowly realized that the best thing about yoga is that you work in the moment. And that moment changes. Some days, I am twisting my body in all the ways. But other days, my body needs to take the simpler road.
This is a pattern I have changed. I am learning how to live in the moment and take easy day as it comes. Learning to say no when I am not in a place to take on more and keep those yes's when I am at my best.
This is one of my favorite things about yoga, it helps you change the patterns in life that don't suit you best. I gives you a safe place to work on them so that you are ready to attack these changes in the real world
Yoga Teaches Connection
It's so important that we feel connected to ourselves. When we can read our own cues we are able to make better decisions. Yoga is one way we can learn to pay attention to our own bodies.
When in a yoga class, you are constantly reminded about the mind body connection. You focus on listening to your body through the moves and flow.
During our busy life, we often lose that connection as we focus on the pressure of the outside world.
However, the more we practice yoga, the more we fight that separation and are able to read our bodies cues. In yoga you feel connected and that feeling makes a place in your brain.
Even though you may only be in class for a short time of your busy life, your brain still remembers that feeling. It takes hold and the more you do it, the bigger that memory becomes.
When you step out of the studio, and back to busy life, our mind starts to crave the calm and quiet and reminds us how much we liked it.
This helps rebalance our life and further makes us crave that stillness. Slowly, we trickle that into real life and the goal is to make it part of our everyday practice, both in and out of the studio.
Learning to enjoy the moment is so important for mental health. Which in turn helps us with overall physical health.
If you want to get your yoga practice going, or want to continue practicing, make sure to visit Chelsea on her Instagram account! She is one of the most inspirational people I know and has helped me bring yoga into my every day life.
If you missed last week's episode, you can listen to it here.