6 Valuable Lessons I Learned From Yoga

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), it’s also been having a major influence on me psychologically.

Here are 6 valuable takeaways I’ve learned by practicing yoga.

1. Yoga Taught Me Patience 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’m falling short of my own expectations. How many of you can relate?

This impatience stems from past experiences where I wasn’t granted the tolerance and compassion for my flaws. My mistakes would be met with punishment which caused 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 our own worst enemies when really 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, not taking responsibility for 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
  • And 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. If you commit to the process, you’ll inevitably get better over time. 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.P!

3. Yoga Taught Me To Dedicate Time To Peace and Mindfulness

As someone who lives with anxiety, my peace is often disrupted by my mind’s desire to constantly overthink which can cause me to lose focus and feel overwhelmed. It’s helpful to incorporate a habit that anchors me in the present and cleanses my mind of this noise.

When I’m done doing a flow, I always walk away feeling 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.

This very post was inspired during *one of my daily practices.

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 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.

I’m guilty of hunching my shoulders and not sitting upright, which can have negative effects on the chest and back. Poses like cat-cow and triangle pose are helpful for that.

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 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.

Photo courtesy of Youtube.com

Turns out there’s a scientific reason why.

According to healthline.com, deep breathing not only helps you increase your pain tolerance but also lowers your chances of injury and helps you relax.

Now when 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 for my threshold of tolerance and pain. 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 strong and powerful and unleashes my inner Goddess while encouraging me to try moves in a way that makes me feel safe and in control of my body without feeling ashamed or sexualized. (like the opening of my hips, groin, and chest.)

It 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

Abiola Akanni

Here she encourages us to embrace our sensuality with confidence by incorporating twerking or the chakra shake as she so cleverly words it 🙂 (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.

Namaste!

*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!

5 Unique Journals You Can Buy At Target

Target is one of my favorite places to shop.

Recently I had some extra time on my hands and took a detour from my usual candle venture (lol) to get lost in their selection of journals and notebooks, a habit I’d like to continue from now on.

As a writer, I live for journals.

I’ve been gifted a few, including the very colorful “Zen As F*Ck” which HusBae gave me a few Christmas’ ago.

Not only are journals a safe secret place to air out your thoughts and feelings, but they’re also a practical way to check-in with yourself.

These 5 journals offer that and more.

If you’re a journal lover like me, here are some unique ones you can find at your local Target.

1. Get To Know Me Better

This journal’s pages are filled with writing prompts and fill-in-the-blank sentences designed to learn all there is to know about a person.

It’s like your own personal trivia book.

Reply to all kinds of personal prompts like “Hidden talents I’ve kept hidden are” and “Things I like to do when I’m alone are.”

Target.com

It’s a fun way for someone to get to know you and the perfect opportunity to get in touch with yourself.

Who knows, your answers may surprise you.

2. A Great Way To Capture And Relive Memories

This journal would be a great keepsake to pass down to a family member or loved one.

It’s a record-keeping book designed for you to answer a different question about yourself every day for 5 years.

Target.com

I think it would be cool to look back on your answers and see how you were feeling and thinking at a specific moment frozen in time.

Seems like a fun psychological exercise to me.

3. This Freaking Journal Helps You Blow Off Steam

When I saw the long flowing text on the cover, I was drawn to this one immediately.

Anytime a sentence starts with “I’m so freaking freaked out” in enlarged white underlined font, you have my attention. It’s the humor and originality for me.

As I made my way through the title, I couldn’t help myself–I burst out laughing in the middle of the aisle (and yes, I am the type of human who’ll laugh to herself in the middle of Target. )

In addition to making me laugh with its quirkiness, it touched me with its self-affirming concept.

This journal is filled with inspirational quotes followed by check-in stations that start with the phrase “Why I’m So Freaking Freaked Out Today”.

You are then given several blank lines to pour your heart out on each page.

Target.com

I love that it gives me a space to freak out. I can see myself turning to this book in times of crisis and meltdowns.

Sometimes, you just need a safe space to spill your guts out and blow off steam.

Hey, it beats sending an angry text.

This journal is bloody brilliant. 10/10. It’s definitely going on my Christmas list.

4. A Journal That Flexes Your Creative Muscle

The aesthetics of this journal caught my eye: the way the gold foil pops against the black binding made me anxious to see what was inside.

I loved that it’s small and lightweight so it’s easy to transport.

I like to take journals with me on the go for distraction-less fun sometimes. It’s a peaceful way to pass the time.

What’s unique about this journal is that it requires your imagination. It’s filled with titles that are writing prompts designed to inspire your own short stories, helpful for creative flow.

Target.com

Each assignment presents a challenge: write your story using the required group of words on one page or less. Talk about concise.

A journal that encourages creative writing and productivity? Count me in.

With a copy of “Write The Story,” who needs a writing class.

5. A Daily Reminder To Take Care Of Yourself

I’m a huge advocate for self-care, so anything that acts as a vessel for this is a win for me.

The pages are filled with inspirational quotes designed to uplift your mood.

Each page serves as a reminder for self-love and begs the question, “what did you do to take care of yourself today?” followed by a space for you to track your mood and energy level.

I think this is a great way to just check in with yourself and make sure you’re given the individual care that you truly deserve.

This could be helpful if you’re someone who needs a little extra push when it comes to practicing self-care or to build yourself up if you’re having low self-esteem.

*Don’t forget to like, share, and leave a comment ^_^

*Like the post? Show me some love! https://www.buymeacoffee.com/kaillaby

The Inconvenience of Being Sad

Everyone needs a shoulder to cry on or a person to turn to for emotional support. Here, I give my take on sadness and how, at times, it feels like a burden or an inconvenience.

Ever had a moment where you were breaking down and in need of healing? There you are in your dark place and you think of reaching out to someone so you draft a text. You re-read your outcry and pause only to delete it.

Or worse, you find the courage to call and don’t get an answer?

I feel like there’s never a convenient time to be sad.

I’m not alone.

A lot of people feel their sadness is a burden.

A Tragic Tale

A year ago, my brother committed suicide. I still remember the day I found out: It must’ve been 7 o’clock in the morning because I was getting my daughter ready for school when I got a phone call that my brother died. The caller found out through a series of reposts, shares, and “r.i.p”s on Facebook. I was numb. I didn’t couldn’t react.

Part of it was the shock of disbelief. The other part was holding out until I could confirm what happened to him.

I thanked the caller and reached out to the only person that I knew would have the answers: my father.

I remember making my way to the kitchen and asking him what happened and that’s when he told me my brother, Ronald, had shot himself.

I managed to let out an “oh my God, what!?” and then I completely lost it.

All of my calm, cool composure completely melted away; it didn’t matter that I was a Mom or that it was a weekday, or that I had plans for my morning. I completely lost myself to my heartbreak.

Suddenly, my daughter walked into the room and asked what happened and her voice brought me back to the reality that this was not the time and place to cry and break. I had a child who was watching and this was not a convenient time to be sad. I tried to ask for space or privacy but it was too late, the mask had melted away and she had already been a witness.

The Aftermath

Losing a loved one to suicide leaves you with a lot of unanswered questions and doubt:

Did I love them enough?

Should I have tried harder to make them feel loved?

You’re left wondering where you failed and what you could should have done better.

I always think about his life leading up to that point. Being a male of color, I would imagine that it was hard for him to find a space for his sadness.

I wonder how many times he tried to reach out or confess his sadness only to be rejected or overlooked.

So many people are suffering and they keep this suffering to themselves out of fear of being a burden or not being taken seriously. How many outcries are ignored only to lead to substance abuse or worse: suicide? I feel like this is especially true for men of color whose portrayal of masculinity is ofttimes chucked up to maintaining a tough exterior; they are raised to believe that feelings don’t matter. Emotions are considered “feminine” and a sign of weakness. In my experience, they are taught that emotion threatens the idea of “being a man”.

But nothing is further than the truth.

Allowing yourself to feel takes bravery. Anyone can pretend. It takes courage to stay true to yourself. It takes courage to reach out for help.

Life Through Brand New Eyes

Since this experience, I take sadness/depression a lot more seriously and have noticed that people take the sadness of others very personally; being angry or peeved when they don’t hear from people on their time all the while not knowing what’s happening behind closed doors.

Or rolling their eyes whenever there’s a shift in tone and someone tries to vent about what they have going on.

This can impact a person negatively and lead to feelings of shame and embarrassment, making them feel like they should keep their feelings to themselves. I realize that it’s hard for people to think outside of their existence and being empathetic is a talent too few possess.

In a time where I was struggling with my own crisis’, I have lost friends due to my absence and lack of communication. I wish they would’ve taken the time to reach out instead of assuming it was an attack on their character.

You’re Not Alone

Whether it’s one in the morning or one in the afternoon, I hope that you have someone you can turn to. Everyone should have at least one person: whether it be your friend, a relative, or a licensed professional. When things are really bad? Use as many lifelines as you need. Depending on the severity of the crisis, I may reach out to all or a combination of the 3. Because I’m not alone. Life exists outside of those moments of turmoil and it’s important to be reminded of that.

So keep your head up! Put your best foot forward and in the event of sadness, know that you’re not a burden. Your feelings matter and you have options. There are people that will/can/do love and support you.

*Don’t forget to like, share, and leave a comment ^_^

*Like the post? Show me some love! https://www.buymeacoffee.com/kaillaby