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Here’s what I hoped I would get out of signing up for the free Yoga class at my gym:

-Increased flexibility

-A quieted mind

-And that ever elusive ‘Yoga Bod’

But what I’ve actually received is something much greater than all of this.

You see, in a nutshell, yoga was the perfect reminder of the power of your mind.

It was a great reminder that wonderful outcomes and ‘impossible’ feats are not reserved for the unicorns of the world.  The unicorns are actually just the people who refuse to give up.

But don’t get me wrong, I’m actually still pretty terrible at Yoga.  Luckily I haven’t had to master this art to learn this invaluable lesson.

10 years ago, when I first tried Yoga……quite frankly, I hated it.

I couldn’t get my body to move the way I felt like everyone else’s could.  Then I became stubborn and didn’t even bother trying for the latter portion of the class.  I left feeling like it was a total waste of my time.

The truth was, it was something I wasn’t immediately good at, so I came to the conclusion that it just wasn’t for me, and I never gave it much thought after that.

Admittedly (and with hindsight being 20/20), it made me feel insecure.  It gave me the feeling like I was too awkward, ungraceful, and didn’t have the right body type to be the ‘yoga girl’.

So with this being my previous experience, I’m not sure what made me dive back into Yoga again at this point in my life.

But I happen to believe that nothing comes into our lives on accident.  

I decided to take yoga around the same time I was at a little bit of a crossroads in my life.  I had just moved in with my boyfriend up in LA and was looking for a new job.

I’d made a big leap of faith and I was hoping the rest of my life would fall into place.

But the job hunt was bumpy….. touch and go.  I had a lot of temporary interior design jobs that led to dead ends with nothing long term to show for it.  I had too much free time on my hands and I was waiting for the holidays to be over so work would pick back up again.

My anxiety was getting worse.

I fell into a little bit of a funk.  Not sure what my big life purpose was or which direction to go.  And I was secretly worried it was going to take a very long time for me to get back on my feet again.

Then, Yoga came back into my life.  And just like years ago, I still sucked.

No really, I was not good.

I was not graceful and I sure as hell wasn’t impressing anyone with my warrior 1 or 2.

But this time was different.

Maybe I had matured some, I’m not sure….but I was looking at this uncomfortable situation from a different perspective now.

I looked at this as a challenge.  And a challenge excited me!

As far as I was concerned, if I was this bad now, the only place to go was up!!

I’d go to class and just focus on my breathing, trying my best to hold the difficult poses.  And during those difficult poses, when I wanted to give up and curl back into child’s pose (which I’m amazing at, btw), I told myself over and over that this temporary pain was only a sign that I was getting stronger.

No matter what happened, as long as I was focused on my breathing and my intention, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment. 

It felt really good to make it through a whole class knowing that I was on my way to something much bigger and better for myself.  Even if I didn’t see immediate results (which I didn’t), I had faith that there was a bigger purpose for all of this.

Showing up was half the battle.  And it feels amazing to not only show up to something intimidating, but also, to see it through. 

At the end of each class, no matter how awkward or painful, I felt really freakin proud of myself.

The pain was temporary, but the results could be amazing if I just hung in there.   And that is most definitely a lesson that transcends my free yoga class at 24 hour fitness.

It was a lesson to remember for my life and especially my current situation.  When things felt hard, or uncomfortable, or when I felt like I wasn’t good enough…. I just had to hang in there and keep pushing forward to get to the other side.

In the big picture of life, as I look back, all of the times when I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone, the pain was only temporary.  Temporary, but necessary.

You can’t grow without the growing pains, you can’t move forward without pushing yourself.

It made me think, ‘if I only stuck to the things in life I knew I was good at, what would I ever really accomplish?’

It was this big lesson right here that shifted my mindset and my life in a big way.

Because what unfolds in our life, mirrors our mindset.

Yoga was a really subtle reminder that I can do anything that I put my mind to.  I truly believe that our minds are the most powerful tool we can use.  We possess the power to alter our reality.

This boost of confidence and pleasant reminder gave me a sense of peace and happiness that I really needed at the time.  Now, I’m happily back to working again and my life is starting to flow in a positive, productive manner.

Coincidence?  I really don’t think so.

So my best piece of advice is find something you’re not good at.  Find something that challenges you, show up, and see it through.

Change your mindset and watch everything else fall into place.

 

AN UNEXPECTED LESSON FROM YOGA