Let me first say that to understand the yoga lessons I’m sharing here, you don’t need to practice yoga. You just need to practice life, and remain receptive to the deeper wisdom inherent in these eleven messages. An open heart and mind seems to clear the way, whatever the subject happens to be.
“That’s exactly how it is in yoga. The places where you have the most resistance are actually the places that are going to be the areas of the greatest liberation.” – Rodney Yee
The foundation of this post rests on a more painful time in my life, because that’s where my mat unfolded. At the time, I was desperate for connection and a way out of the tremendous pain I was experiencing. Yoga ended up being the way through the pain.
When my brother passed away in 2011, yoga became a subtle yet sincerely healing presence in my life. What I’ve learned since that time is something worth writing about and something worth living for.“Yoga is not about touching your toes, it is what you learn on the way down.” – Jigar Gor Click To Tweet
Yoga has become my lifeline to love in many ways. I’ve learned that I can love myself right smack dab in the middle of the journey, before I reach the goal. The compassion I’ve gained for myself on the mat has sparked greater compassion for others. I can access peace within more easily and consistently, which I think makes life a whole lot more fulfilling.
Yoga found me with an aching heart, and I subsequently found myself.
As I gently allowed myself to be broken open, the door to a whole new world opened up.
I am sure that the yoga lessons shared below have been experienced by many others, and that’s because yoga can be synonymous with love for so many.
For me, these yoga lessons faced me in a direction of self-discovery and called me to do my part in making the world, within and around, a brighter place. For this reason alone, I can honestly say that yoga saved my life: it prompted me to come alive again.
Cheers to everyone who rolls out their mat, whether they feel like it that day or not. Cheers to those who take their yoga practice off the mat and into their daily lives. Cheers to you who have even an ounce of interest in beginning your own yoga practice, whatever that looks like for you.
Cheers to you who do not practice yoga, but practice life in such a way that you keep growing, opening, and learning to love—not despite the hardships, but in honor of them.
11 Yoga Lessons That Double as Sage Life Lessons
1. This is all a practice.
Anything worth doing takes time and dedication. Yoga is called a “practice” for a reason. Most of us cannot just flip upside down into a full and enlightened headstand, and many may never even communicate with that physical ability. It’s all well.
My yoga practice has kept me grounded and reminds me every day that life is a practice. We cannot get everything done in one day, and that’s what makes this a worthwhile journey to be on.
2. Persistence is tied to priorities.
Persistence means the intentional, committed continuation of a practice. To continue with anything we’ve started in this world can often feel like a miracle, because the world is constantly pulling us every which way. The key is to not let the world pull you from what you love.In a world full of distractions, it's a conscious choice to listen to your heart. Click To Tweet
Yoga constantly brings me back to a quiet place inside where I remember what’s really important to me. I think we’d all benefit from a practice that does this for us.
3. Patience can be cultivated.
One of the greatest yoga lessons I’ve learned is the art of being patient. Patience is a divine quality that we must return to in every awakened moment. In other words, we can’t be impatient and conscious at the same time.
Mastering asana (physical yoga poses) takes patience. Meditation instills patience. Stillness, the achievement of set goals, and relationships all thrive with patience.
4. Anything is possible.
If you devote enough energy, persistence, and patience, anything is possible. The only limits are the limits we set upon ourselves (though we might not be aware of those limits).
For my entire young adult life, I thought I could never be flexible. I didn’t go into yoga thinking I was flexible; I started practicing yoga because I wanted that flexibility. When I lifted that self-imposed limit, I learned that I actually was flexible underneath that stubborn exterior.The truth is that we can do whatever we deeply want to do. Click To Tweet
5. Respect your body’s signals.
Learn to listen to your body and honor what it’s asking for. Your body is a beautiful means of communication in this world, and a self-love practice is really a practice of respecting what you can do, experience, and give.
If your lower back is weak today, or if your neck is riddled with tension, listen to that. Your body is asking you to take it easy, to be easy with yourself. There’s a deeper message that might be calling you to look at how all areas of your life are affecting your livelihood.
6. Practice accepting where you are.
Some days we’ll feel on top of the world, full of energy and heart. Other days we will feel disheartened and groggy. The lesson is to focus on what you can do versus what you cannot do, and to accept the ups and the downs, knowing that this too shall pass.If we stop loving ourselves until we’re lovable enough, when will we ever love? Click To Tweet
7. Slow down (sometimes).
There are four seasons in the natural world. There is time for activity and time for calm, time to work and time to rest. Slowing down is something I’m still being called to do, because it’s a way of reconnecting with life in the present moment, the only place life ever is.
On every level—physical, mental, emotional—we can learn to identify inner chaos and slow down before overwhelm throws us off course. Yoga is one way of slowing down.
Slowing down does NOT mean downplaying your excitement for life. It just means allowing yourself to be quiet—even for 5 minutes—to refresh your energy when it needs refreshing. Listen to what your body, head, and heart are telling you. Do what is right for you.
8. Experiencing gratitude is deeper than contemplating gratitude.
If you start to go deeper than just reading and thinking about gratitude, and you actually start feeling it shift the energy inside of you, beauty will pour in. Joy will appear around every corner. You will “perceive love from everything around you,” as Miguel Ruiz writes in The Four Agreements.Gratitude is something that must be experienced to be understood. It needs to be real for us. Click To Tweet
9. Trust your truths.
I believe that happiness is available to me even when I can’t make myself available to it. I believe that unity is stronger than separation, that love turns every fear into love, and that the unknown is worthy of awe. If I can believe in anything, I choose joy, togetherness, and even miracles.
What I place my faith in is a testament to how I want to live my life.
Yoga reminds me that I can appreciate life even when I do not understand it. I just need to choose trust over anxiety, trust over confusion, and trust over bitterness.
10. Everything is a process.
Whenever things don’t go my way, I repeat this affirmation: “I trust Life.” It’s a recognition that life is not against me; life is happening around me, for the highest good for all. I can resist the flow, or go with the flow: It’s my choice and my experience.Yoga aligns us with this energy of trust that urges us to respect the process of all things. Click To Tweet
11. I am enough, right now.
Regardless of my goals, lists, mistakes, and imperfections, I am enough. Regardless of the visions and expectations I hold for myself, I am enough. Whatever my past looks like, I am enough. However the future unfolds, I am willing to believe in my inherent worth.
However difficult it is to step onto your mat or into your day, you will always be enough as you are. Believe this, and you’ll live an abundant life, and you’ll probably help others along the way.
- If you’re a fellow fan of yoga, what’s one yoga lesson you try to live by every day?
- If you’re a fellow student of life, what’s one life lesson you’d add to this list?
Please share your thoughts, lessons learned in persistence and patience, how self-love and acceptance keeps you going, the beauty that gratitude and trust has brought to your life, and any helpful stories with me in the comments.
Be a sage-wisdom giver; share these yoga lessons with a fellow student of life.
Whatever makes your soul smile again—do that.