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Lessons From a Yoga Class

"Stop moving out of habit- move out of purpose.”

Last night after work I went to yoga to recenter and unwind. Instead of focusing on an intention when we began, the teacher suggested we think about something we’re good at or proud of. She shared a story about her stellar ability to parallel park; although everyone laughed, her point was understood.

We need to celebrate all our positive qualities, not just pick out the negative.

We are our worst critics. After busy days at work, responsibilities, and (for some) families to care for, we can easily feel we’re slacking in certain areas of our lives or not living up to our potential. Sometimes we need to focus on those little things- those tiny victories- to help get us through the day. We may beat ourselves up for mistakes or flaws, but she reminded us to focus on what your own parallel parking is.

Yoga taught me several lessons last night. Certain positions were uncomfortable; I felt wobbly and weak, but remembered: next time will be better. That was why I was there- to gain strength, mentally and physically- not because it was supposed to be easy.

Life is like that, too.

At one point the instructor came up to me and helped me with a pose, which normally would make me feel embarrassed or uncomfortable- but last night it didn’t. I felt grateful. My ego wasn’t on the forefront- I was there to learn and to grow.

That’s what life is all about.

As yoga came to a close, she said to the class: “My goal for all of you is to stop moving out of habit.”

Then, in my mind I thought, “stop moving out of habit- move out of purpose.”

We run around all day, multitask, cross off to-do lists, and fill our calendars. But do we really need to be moving? Maybe, just maybe, we can take a deep breath and slow down. We can focus on those things we do well, and continue to grow in the things we need to improve.

Our egos are merely an illusion; are we moving to keep up with our neighbors, or because we have a purpose? Are we trying to impress those around us, or are we following our own hearts?

Setting intentions that are true to you and remembering all of your gifts and talents is so important on a daily basis. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we need to remember what’s going right, not wrong.

Last night I focused on my strengths, went easy on myself for not being “perfect,” and accepted the help that was offered to me. I’m going into this Wednesday with a grateful heart and open mind- although certain poses may be uncomfortable, we’re building up to be even stronger tomorrow.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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