Dedicate your practice

At the beginning of a yoga class, the teacher asks us dedicate the class to someone or something. Maybe it’s a place, maybe a person. Breathing, stretching and stillness benefits us, but also everyone else around us. We are all connected, so therefore whatever you do effects me.

Dedicating a class clarifies our intention behind a practice and reminds us that self-improvement is not about the individual, but the collective. This works for any exercise – dedicate a walk, a run, a swim, a bike ride or a breathing exercise.

The act of dedication make us pause and reflect on why we are doing this every day, and that it’s not just about us. Enjoy!

Show up and be 

Yoga doesn’t mind about your mood. Its nose doesn’t get put out of joint because your mind is all over the place, or you feel bloated, achy and tired. Yoga doesn’t mind if you are feeling out of sorts. 

It’s just asking  you to show up and be. That’s all. The rest will take care of itself. 

Be in touch

Staying in touch is different than friending, following or subscribing to someone on a social network. Facebook is a community of digital contacts and it’s an awesome vehicle to communicate, but don’t confuse digital connections and digital browsing with seeing someone in the flesh. I know there’s a diaspora of people across the world and that’s what makes social networks so great, but I’m talking about being physically proximate with your community, neighbors and friends.

If you stopped using Facebook tomorrow, how many people would notice? I mean really notice. How many people would be knocking on your door, walking around to the back door, peering in a window or phoning to check in? Compare that to the reaction from friends, family and co-workers who are in physical contact with on a regular basis. I’m talking about a morning run together, popping in for tea, walk and talks at lunch time, kid’s play dates, weekend coffee meetups…that’s what “being in touch” means. It’s not scrolling down a digital news feed and flicking through photos for a quickie endorphin hit.

Networks like Facebook and Twitter are a means to communicate and organize. Check out the Women’s Marches that were organized across the country…and it all started with a small group on Facebook. What’s even more awesome is that the Facebook group manifested into a physical march for millions of people. What gave it power was the physical manifestation. Physical contact nurtures the soul and makes the connection real.

Be proximate with your community and be in touch. It’s good for the community and it’s good for you.

p.s. thanks to Stephen Bartels for inspiring this post and Lindsay Bartels for the edits

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Falling out and learning how not to

Yoga is about gentle balance. A yoga pose is about using body weight and strength to oxygenate. The only way to improve is to gently push the body beyond its comfort level as technique improves. Going beyond the limits means losing balance and sometimes falling out of a pose. Don’t get frustrated when a pose ‘breaks’ and you find yourself flat on the mat. Falling out and learning how not to is the way to improve.

Gently push yourself everyday, and remember if you are forcing it then it isn’t yoga.