Yoga is my favorite way to exercise. It enhances flexibility, promotes mindfulness, and encourages discipline.
These days, I get my yoga fix from my favorite Youtube channel, Yoga By Biola.
Not only has yoga been doing my body right (aowww), but it’s also been a major influence on me psychologically.
Here are 6 valuable takeaways I’ve learned by practicing yoga.
1. Yoga Taught Me To Be Patient With Myself
I judge myself harshly when things don’t go according to plan. When I make a mistake, I can be pretty mean and impatient with myself. It’s as if I’m mad that I fall short of my own expectations. How many of you can relate?
This impatience stems from years of not receiving tolerance and compassion for my flaws, causing me to set up unrealistic standards for myself. Yoga teaches me that this way of thinking is wrong.
It’s ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Allowing yourself to learn and grow instead of punishing yourself for being human is better for your long-term success and self-esteem.
In yoga, it’s less about how perfectly you can get it right the first time and more about your gradual progress.
Abiola Akanni’s practice teaches me to be patient and kind to myself, down to how I talk about my body.
In her “slow flow hip opening” routine, she speaks about observing the body without judgment. Not discrediting yourself for being tight in a certain place or having a limited range of motion, but instead making a mental note of your body’s progress and the messages it’s sending to you at the moment.
Yoga By Biola does an excellent job of encouraging people to move in a way “that feels safe” and to not be so caught up in trying to achieve stretches and bends that our bodies aren’t prepared to handle. Abiola is super accommodating and often recommends using additional accessories (i.e., yoga blocks, pillows, books, belts, etc.) in case you need them.
We could all benefit from being more patient with ourselves. Most of the time, we’re our harshest critics and worst enemies when we should be our own best friends!
Be mindful of how kind you are to yourself in moments when things aren’t going right for you. Grant yourself the graciousness you give to other people and remember to love yourself unconditionally. (Side note: It’s NOT ok to insult yourself. Even in jest. What we speak, we become.)
2. Yoga Taught Me The Power of Consistency
I started doing yoga to improve my flexibility and counter tightness in my hips and groin, a consequence of constantly sitting and not having enough movement in my legs.
At first, I didn’t see the improvement I was looking for, never considering my lack of persistence.
When I started taking it seriously, I noticed that the more I kept practicing, the easier the bends and poses became. Each time I was able to lean into it just a little bit further, and before you know it, I was pulling off moves with ease. (Ok, nailing pigeon pose!)
This inspired me to become more consistent in other aspects of my life. Like:
- My work ethic.
- My hair and skincare routines.
- My relationship building.
With yoga, just like anything you strive to achieve, you have to be consistent to see the results. It helps to think of each practice as a stepping stone in your journey versus expecting results immediately.
If you want to see progress with anything, you have to be consistent. Establish a routine and keep at it. You’ll inevitably get better over time if you commit to the process. The hardest part is finding the patience.
Just put your energy into achieving the goal, turn a blind eye to the timeline, and the Universe will take care of the rest. T.T.M.F.P!
3. Yoga Taught Me To Dedicate Time To Peace and Mindfulness
As someone with anxiety, I have a bad habit of overthinking, which causes me to lose focus and feel overwhelmed. It helps to incorporate a practice that anchors me in the present and cleanses my mind of noise.
When I’m done doing a flow, I always walk away feeling more calm and alert. The state of zen does wonders for my anxiousness and mental clarity. I even started keeping a journal nearby because sometimes, the increased alertness inspires new thoughts, feelings, and creative ideas. *One of my daily practices inspired this very post.
We always make time for work, friends, and social media, but how many of us dedicate time to our peace? Take the time to be present, and as a result, you’ll be more relaxed. It’s hard to be chill when you’re constantly distracted. Sometimes just a few minutes of deep breathing and stretching can be enough to help you regain your focus and find your tranquility. Considering how much time we willingly forfeit to our obligations, we should be willing to at least spare 20 minutes for our peace of mind.
*Here’s one of my favorites:
4. Yoga Taught Me How To Use Every Part Of My Body
In yoga, some poses require you to isolate specific muscles in the body. When done right, these poses can improve posture, release tension, and increase range of motion. Yoga will have you activating muscles in your body you didn’t know you had or, at the very least, the ones you misuse. For me, that’s my upper body and spine.
Yoga by Biola offers different yoga flows that target specific parts of the body. Her routine for the neck and shoulders will give you the greatest release of tension you’ve ever felt. (Skip that massage you booked, all you need is a chair!) Each routine challenges me to activate muscles I didn’t realize were weakened (Like my triceps and biceps. hello spaghetti arms!) or carrying stress. (It’s the shoulders and hips for me).
I take each challenge as a moment of self-reflection and check in on parts of my body that could use improvement. I invite you to do the same. Remember to be kind and patient with yourself and try to follow the instructor’s tips verbatim to prevent injury.
5. Yoga Taught Me That Breathing Is A Thing
If you have ever attended a yoga class, you’ve probably heard the instructor tell you things like “focus on your breath” or “remember to breathe.” Typically they’ll ask you to inhale or exhale deeply depending on the intensity of the pose. I’m sure you’ve rolled your eyes at this advice and convinced yourself it doesn’t work. But, really. Breathing is a thing.
I have found that the more I elongate my breath, the more space I make in my body, inviting me to sink into those really ambitious poses. Like the goddess squat, for example.
Turns out there’s a scientific reason why.
According to healthline.com, deep breathing helps increase your pain tolerance, lowers your chances of injury, and helps you relax.
Whenever I’m faced with tense situations (a heated argument, a setback, a vigorous exercise), I take a second to breathe, and it makes a huge difference in my tolerance and pain threshold. I invite you to do the same.
Try this: Instead of short, shallow breaths through your mouth, try deep inhales and exhales through your nostrils which will allow you to breathe deeper.
Bonus perks if you suffer from environmental allergies. (like me!) It has amazing benefits for the sinuses, too. Happy breathing!
6. Yoga Taught Me To Embrace My Femininity
Doing yoga has unlocked new levels of femininity within me. It makes me feel powerful and in touch with my inner Goddess, encouraging me to try moves (like the opening of my hips, groin, and chest) in a way that makes me feel strong, safe, and in control of my body. It also promotes body positivity, something I know a lot of women struggle with.
*One of the things that impressed me about Yoga by Biola was her take on woman’s sexuality with her Trap Vinyasa Core demo:
“I created Trap Vinyasa to help you explore sensuality and begin identifying as a sensual vessel as opposed to a sexualized body”
Here she encourages us to embrace our sensuality with confidence by incorporating
twerking the chakra shake 🙂 (say what you will about twerking, it’s fun A.F. and an amazing workout)
Yoga teaches me that femininity is divine and that I should welcome all the things that come with that: softness, gentleness, sensuality, strength, and fluidity.
Because of yoga, I am a stronger, happier, and wiser version of myself. Not a bad takeaway from an exercise that I get to do from the comforts of my own living room.
*Don’t forget to like, share, and leave a comment ^_^
*Like the post? Show me some love! https://www.buymeacoffee.com/kaillaby
*She also has a playlist called “The Divine Yoga series”, a 6 part series inspired by “the 6 archetypes of the divine feminine”. I invite you to try and make it to the end!