When yoga becomes part of your lifestyle, the changes go beyond the mat
I woke up this morning reflecting on how much I’ve changed.
I noticed I was less reactive when things happened around me.
I observed my tolerance for uncertainty has increased.
I’m less stressed.
I want for less.
But then I went deeper and thought about how this may be affecting my relationships- from friendships to my love life to family.
Here are some observations I’ve noticed after the eight years of practicing yoga and six years of sharing yoga with others through teaching.
You become more patient
I wouldn’t dare say I’m the most patient person. (This pandemic has really highlighted the importance of patience in our everyday life… waiting in line at Trader Joe’s, when you’re waiting forever for a package to arrive, and tempering the frustration when Target runs out of every cleaning supply possible.) But I’m definitely more patient than I was before.
Patience is one of those things that sweeten a relationship. It takes off the edge. If you’ve been living with a roommate, your significant other, or family member during this time, you know what I mean. It takes one little moment of impatience to snap back, to say something you don’t mean, or to sour an otherwise beautiful day.
The way I’ve built the most patience is when I’m holding yoga poses and breathing through them or when I’ve practiced on and off for years and still haven’t perfected my handstand. I’ve also noticed the way patience pays off when I finally was able to unlock pincha mayurasana and my scorpion pose.
The years of practice and the compounding minutes of rewiring your body and mind through the unity of breath and movement really really works in building patience.
You’re less attached to the outcome
It’s so true. I know you’ve probably heard a yoga teacher say at some point “let go”. It’s cliché but it works. I’ve learned to manage my expectations. I’m less attached. I can’t pinpoint exactly how this process happens, but it does.
The quality of holding life with an open hand and being less attached to the outcome is learned and earned. It applies to every single relationship or interaction we have. From the love interest you really hope would blossom into more and they ghost you, to thinking you should have been married/engaged/or at least be in a serious relationship by now, or when a close friend forgets your birthday. Hey, it was quarantine, they probably had a good excuse.
In my opinion, being less attached to the outcome is what makes someone absolutely confident in dating when talking to someone new. You’re able to enjoy the moment with this person, exchange smiles, genuinely get to know them, and invest your energy, all without expecting them to take you out on date 3 and then ask you to be official by date 4.
It’s funny right?
Sometimes we have all these rules and expectations not just of others but of ourselves!
That’s where the journey of going within really builds you into a more whole person.
Through yoga, you peel back the physical layers, the ego, the defenses. Through reflection and being, you get to simply exist as you are. And all the attachments start to fade away.
You are complete as you are.
You accept people’s weaknesses more
This one is closely related to being more patient but it goes further. You just start to see yourself and other people as human, flawed, but beautiful beings. I think this happens because yoga teaches you to be more observant. You certainly wake up to your own sh*t. Which means you are more aware of theirs too.
When that happens, you start to get triggered by what someone said, did, didn’t do, should’ve done, etc. Then, you realize everything that is occuring in your life is a mirror and every person a teacher on your journey of becoming the most evolved version of you.
You realize that everyone’s just out here navigating life. You realize people are just doing their best, like you. You realize your partner isn’t perfect and won’t fulfill every wish or desire. You awaken to the fact that your parents loved you to the best they could with the level of awareness they had at the time.
Your eyes open wide to the reality that is life.
And the best part is, you love it and you’re here for it.
You genuinely begin to love yourself
Yoga is such an intimate experience. You’re there with just your skin, your curves, your naked thoughts. You hear when you start to criticize yourself for not getting on your mat enough, or for the way your midsection looks in that pose, or the extra quarantine weight you’ve put on.
My body has changed through the years and yoga has been with me through it, never judging my appearance, my emotions, or my state of mind.
There were times when I used to do heated power yoga, and I would cry during pigeon pose, and no one would know because it just looked like sweat.
There was one time I had just come off a heartbreak and all I could do was show up to class and I stayed in savasana the whole time, holding my hand to my heart. The teacher fully understood what I needed at the time. I’m getting tears in my eyes thinking back to that moment.
Hot yoga was the first date I went on with my partner, when we flowed next to each other and the connection was undeniable. Just being next to him was electric. And we still practice together to this day.
I’m so grateful for the journey I’ve been on to love myself. I think we start out loving ourselves and somewhere along the way we’re conditioned against it.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, we can continue to grow in love.
You communicate your needs better
Hello communication! One of the pillars of relationships.
You know when you go to a yoga class and you leave your phone in the locker?
It’s the one hour-ish of your day that you get to take space from your life and the distractions.
What about when you walk into class and your thoughts are in a jumble, you’re stressing about that thing, or you keep replaying back some memory?
Have you noticed that after you leave class, it’s as if everything got untangled and you emerge with clarity and peace?
That’s one of my favorite transformations.
Many an argument or fight have been resolved by one person taking a yoga class and sorting out thoughts and emotions. I know this from experience. The beautiful part about this is when you take time, space, breath, and intention, you are able to cut through the noise and get clear on what’s really bothering you.
If it was valid, you likely now have the language to communicate it to the person and work through it. You might even realize it had nothing to do with them and everything to do with you. Sometimes you get a light bulb moment or a spark of inspiration.
Because of this process, you become a more mature communicator. I’m a work in progress in this but it’s constantly getting refined.
You’re more easy-going and fun
I’m way more fun now. Or maybe more boring! Haha. Depends on who you ask. But one thing is for sure. I am 100% more easy going.
I used to be really driven in my early 20s. I was that bright-eyed associate at my old firm that sat in the front row, asked a question so the higher-ups knew who I was, and worked myself to death trying to over-deliver on every request. I wanted to be in every meeting, taking detailed notes, and worrying whether I was working fast/hard/efficient/effective enough.
Then a co-worker at that firm brought me to my first yoga class. It kicked my butt. I was in child’s pose pretty much the second half of class. But the curious and driven part of me wanted to get better at it. And I did. Little did I know, years later, that I’d end up teaching yoga and leaving my career to do so.
It’s funny to think back to the old me. I used to care so much. About every little thing. Maybe this comes with age too and just overall maturity.
The adventures I’ve said yes to and opportunities I’ve come across have made me more open-minded. I’ve taken more risks and learned a lot. I think that’s what makes someone fun. It’s the willingness to try new things, to venture into the unknown, to be curious about other people, to enjoy the moment.
I still enjoy a glass of red wine here and there, or a deliciously crafted Mezcal cocktail, or gooey chocolate chip cookies (my weakness). Maybe my definition of fun is more PG than anything, but that’s how I like it.
Your outlook becomes more optimistic
Not everyone is an optimist. But you practice yoga for a while and you sure will become one.
You become flexible and resilient physically. You start to feel better overall. Your skin and aura start to find a glow. You get addicted to not only feeling better but looking better. Because your energy has shifted, opportunities start to come your way (people, love, work, money, ideas, etc.).
This cycle of positivity becomes your life. I’m not saying it’s always good vibes. It’s not. I’ve gone through some pretty sad, depressing, and low energy days the past few months during the pandemic. Some nights I cried myself to sleep with the weight of the world and current events. Some days I binged Netflix all day to get away from it all.
But… Even in the rough times, you discover you have this new toolbox of skills/techniques/processes to deal with anything that comes your way.
You discover your resiliency. You tap into the wisdom of your intuition. You become a force.
And this way of being has the ability of making you a better partner, lover, parent, friend, and leader.
Thank you so much for reading! I appreciate you and would love to hear from you! What resonated with you from this post? Let’s connect!