Connection Kindness Mindfulness Yoga

Life is like … a yoga class

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There is a belief  that many of us hold, that we have to progress or strive in life. We get meaning from meeting challenges and achieving our goals. But is this the truth?

Recently, I taught a Mindful Hatha yoga class with the intention of supporting people to grow in their asana practice. I wanted them to feel more confident in taking on postures that were out of their comfort zone.

I soon realized that participants have different intentions or needs. Not everyone wants to master a flow series or explore more challenging postures.

In fact, for practitioners who have come to yoga later in life, it may not be possible or advisable to attempt moves that put strain on wrists and knees, or require a strong core and flexibility…. And don’t get me started on trying heated yoga when your internal body temperature gauge is already worn out!

As we go through life our attitude and beliefs also change. Imagine your lifespan like a yoga class sequence.

Life is like … a yoga class

We start with the warm ups and prepare for later on.

We learn new skills and practice them to become more masterful.

We take on more challenging positions.

We keep learning and striving until we reach our peak.

Then we shift attention towards finding balance.

We slow down and tune in more to what is happening in our mind, body and inner being.

We relax.

We let go and take the time to nourish and restore ourselves.

Older yogis, like myself, may enjoy a good challenge now and again, but for the most part, we are at the stage in life where finding balance and appreciating the beauty of slowing down is more important. At the same time however, we must also maintain our strength and flexibility to stay healthy and mobile.

For me, I want my already worn parts to last me for as long as I need them! Muscle strains and  tissue tears are no fun as we age, and can take a long time to heal.

Sometimes I forget. My job as a yoga teacher is to ensure my students are safe, and that they listen to what their body is telling them, not what the yoga teacher wants for them. Tuning in more to the participants and less to what you think they “should” be doing, is key to becoming a masterful yoga teacher.

Let us all encourage learning, and also be aware of when our own ego has taken over the class.

Namaste

 

87 comments on “Life is like … a yoga class

  1. Love this definition, Val. 😍 Klausbernd and I practice yoga at home too.💕

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love how you equate life to the yoga class, so accurate! I think it would be awesome if you’d upload one of your favorite classes to your YouTube channel for some of us to do! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Kate! I have thought about it for my regular peeps when they are traveling or on vacation …. but I hadn’t thought about sharing with my WP friends. You’ve got me thinking 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m at the stage of just wanting balance in my life. Do ‘it’ if it feels right, but listen to my body when it says ‘enough’.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is so true! You are a great teacher to allow students to find a place of comfort.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As my yogi said to me yesterday…”Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” So much wisdom in practicing yoga and coming into a deeper awareness of our body, mind and spirit. 💞​

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Pingback: Five Things Life is Like – My Instruction Manual

  7. This is a very inspiring post Val.
    Practiced Hatha Yoga as a young man but travel
    interrupted everything routine.
    Thanks, Eddie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Eddie. It isn’t easy to bring our practice into traveling. Yet mindful awareness and connecting to our breath is always available 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  8. soulspeak

    Wonderful guidance Val. And yes…I agree with Kate above,…it would be amazing to be able to watch one of your classes on YouTube…so we could participate.
    Have a most lovely day Val…Namaste’

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post, Val! You should teach online classes for those of us who had a bad experience in the past. I was listening to what my body was telling me, but the instructor kept pushing me. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wise post, Val. Some people want to roam the 4 corners of earth . . . others want to enjoy the beauty in their own backyards.

    Vive la difference!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Yes, yes! Yoga is not a competitive sport. 😉 I like your comparisons – I’m definitely at the balance stage of life. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Eliza. If you can imagine a curve with a peak when we reach the biggest challenge, then the other side can be such a great ride 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  12. neilsonanita

    This is great. what a good analogy. I like the part about taking time to nourish and restore ourselves. I’m always telling others this!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I love yoga because I can practice it anywhere anytime. My mat travels far and wide across the world. My poses are my life’s journey and they change as I do. Wonderful post Val 🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Reena Davis

    Great post Val❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I learn a lot from you, Val!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m glad you wrote this. As one who has woven inside and outside of yoga classes, I weary of teachers who impose their own agendas. I weary of this in any discipline, but especially one that is ‘supposed’ to be spiritually based. I have been a perfectionist all my life – working many years on its deconstruction. I do Not need further discipline. I need flow, acceptance, grace. I practice these daily and assimilate into my life like-minded energies. I love yogic movements, and pratice my own style of it every morning and often during the day. Above all, mindfulness is key, and what many yogis taught for centuries – being mindful, in the body, in the Now. Grace. Aloha.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. I “wish” life was like a yoga class!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I don’t have your skill or experience with yoga, but I do appreciate the analogy. Sometimes our most profound lessons are learned far from the traditional classroom.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. What a perfect analogy, Val. I, too, love the suggestion of seeing you do yoga on Youtube. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  20. One of these days I am going to take a yoga class again because I really enjoyed it. This analogy was perfectly timed for me today. Thanks Val. xo

    Liked by 2 people

  21. So true! and the individual yoga classes can highlight how we are in our everyday life too 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  22. I was chatting to Jean about avoiding stress at this time of our lives and mentioned you as a great example. Have just read out aloud this post to Jeannie and she appreciated your message, profoundly so! 😍

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for sharing with Jean! We really do t need to take on new challenges in order to prove something and feed our ego at this time. Nourish and nurture body mind and soul. Find the balance in life that works for you both. If a project comes up that lifts your spirit, go for it, but don’t let yourself be driven by old beliefs and conditioning.
      In other words … love, appreciate and enjoy 💕💕

      Liked by 2 people

  23. Love this post. I find it challenging to go to live yoga classes because I feel as though I’m judged if I can’t do a headstand or can’t do full wheel pose. Perhaps that’s me being insecure, but I’ve had a few times where yoga instructors have to tried to “adjust” me, but don’t realize that I physically can’t bend in certain ways (chronic hip injury). Thank you for your mindfulness, this was a wonderful post!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Cat. I believe that a yoga glass should be like a moving meditation, with the teacher guiding you to tune inwards. This is onthe Kripalu tradition. It sounds like the classes you have been going too are more targeted towards advanced asanas or Vinyasa. There are many different traditions and teachers out there. 🙏

      Like

  24. I love this post. It is so true! We can learn a lot from yoga and take it into our everyday lives. Namaste

    Liked by 3 people

  25. Well said Val. Yoga is a journey and not a destination. It doesn’t matter whether you are an old person or a young. You must have the willing power to practice yoga.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Pingback: Life is like … a yoga class — Find Your Middle Ground – Site Title

  27. Wow! great thoughts.. Already a follower. I’m a new blogger and already inspired by u. be sure to check out my blog.
    Namaste.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Patty Zen

    Love this article. I’m already close to burn out and am trying to find balance now rather than later. One reason I started my blog…to remind myself of this!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I loved this, it took me back to when I used to do yoga all the time! It was so peaceful and the group of people you have class with suddenly feel like they are connected to you yet we all different. I have a friend learning how to be an instructor (I have her interview on my blog), but the experience is definitely changing her worldly perspective. Do you have any advice for her, as an instructor yourself?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind words and insights. You made me consider what the difference is between and instructor and a teacher. I have never thought of myself as an instructor. Instructors deliver instructions on how to do things correctly. Teachers engage the students to acquire knowledge but also to learn from their own experience. I think that is the key 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ohhh I never thought of the difference between being an instructor and teacher before, but they are different roles. In that sense, my yoga friend is seeking to become a teacher because not only does she want to share her own experiences and knowledge with her students, she wants to be able to gain different insights and skills from her students. Thank you Val 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  30. Loved reading this ! Inspiration to actually start teaching !

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Pingback: Life is like … a yoga class — Find Your Middle Ground – International Nursing

  32. This is actually so true, great post Val! I love Yoga😍

    Liked by 1 person

  33. bitsofjenn

    It all flowed so beautifully and really appreciated this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Love this article. For me Yoga is like life, my mat is my home, the studio is my life and when I see myself in the mirrors it shows me how I am being in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. wonderful reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

  36. crankyyogiyoga

    I could not agree more and I want to share this with my studio owner! It seems to be popular in our area to do the power vinyasa but we live in a retirement community where yin is huge. The vinyasa class I teach is more traditional and I aim to be inclusive. As such, a lot of older people tend to gravitate towards it! We have teachers here who are younger (I’m only 35 I know; but these girls are in their 20s!) who want to kick butts and have learned that with this community, it doesn’t work. I absolutely loved this. Thank you! Such a great reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Beautiful post! Thank you for sharing ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  38. I liked this post a lot! As a newly trained yoga trainer, the part where you talked about being mindful of your students and letting them listen to their own bodies and limits was hammering. And how you relate life with Yoga is also a wonderful perspective! I blog about yoga too, about transcending the ‘exercise’ and making it an ‘asana.’ You can check it out too if you like. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  39. LivingWise Project

    Great read as I embark on my yoga teacher training course 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Pingback: Life is like…..a Yoga class – Angela's Yoga

  41. Thank you for sharing. beautiful post. Hatha yoga firmly believes that this body is divine, so our existence is also divine. The beauty of hatha yoga is that it can be practice at any age, at any place and serves the same purpose. if you want to know more about yoga and meditation visit our blog https://www.spirityoga.org/blog/

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Pingback: Do you yoga? Go deeper with Progressive Yoga – LIFESTYLE DESIGN

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  44. Kim Ann Woodley

    This post really is inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  45. one can rejuvenate the body by doing yoga at any time of age…Yoga is one of the finest way to keep your body and soul together…

    Liked by 1 person

  46. You have given very necessary information to us. I think I can get help from this post .you are very talented. I wish you good luck for your next post. Your post will help me to improve my career. I think it will be good for everyone. All type of people will get benefited from your post. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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