Sunday, March 11, 2012

Life Lessons I've Learned at Yoga - Slice of Life Challenge

Recently I started attending a yoga class once a week on Thursday evenings.

My yoga teacher, who is also one of my close friends, has some phrases that she likes to remind us of as we breathe, stretch, and strike poses.  Some of my favorites are:
  • Be present
  • Be grateful
  • Be aware
  • You should feel an awareness in ... (and she names a location of our bodies)
Jen, my yoga instructor, also recently told us that the best yogis are not the most flexible or the ones with the best meditation skills; rather, they are the ones listening to their bodies and minds and working at the level at which they are most capable.  Then, they take a deep breath and see if they can go just a bit further.

While all these are perfect phrases for me to concentrate on while doing yoga, I've noticed that they've spilled over into my everyday life as well. 

Be present - I'm trying to be more present in the moment, whether it is with friends, family, colleagues, or students.  I am such a to do list kind of person, and sometimes I need to stop, and enjoy the moment or situation that might present itself to me, even when it is not on that darn list.

Be grateful - Since this challenge started, I have read many posts of gratitude.  While I feel gratitude and generally have a positive outlook on life, there are those moments where I get bogged down in what could be instead of what is.  One of my favorite slices about this topic was Kelli's.  I need to be more like her, and take a situation that might be frustrating and try to find the grateful moment in it.

Be aware / feel an awareness - I feel like this is similar for me to the "be present" goal, because both are affected by that darn to do list.  I think about the colleague that came to me recently, and I was in the middle of doing something so I only listened at 50%. I should have been more aware that her visit to me was of huge importance to her.  I didn't pick up on that until much later.  I need to lift my head up, make eye contact, and be aware of what others are saying to me.

So, as I write this on Sunday, and I'm looking toward the hectic schedule of this week, the week before our spring break, I need to take several deep breaths and see if I can go a little further in the skills of being present, grateful, and aware.

Hoping your week is filled with much presence, gratitude, and awareness, as well.

As always, thanks to Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers for hosting the Slice of Life Challenge!


  1. Love this post! I enjoy yoga because it makes me slow down and be aware. I'm not great at it but I get better each day. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Great inspiration: Be present, be grateful, be aware. I may print those off and post them all over my life. Love it. I'm back to yoga this week...will keep repeating this over and over.

  3. So great to hear a different perspective. I too have a long 'to do' list & sometimes feel so overwhelmed. I went to Kelli's post too & found a way to find gratitude in the things I worry about most. Thank you Karen for starting our week so wonderfully! (I work hard at the 'be present' mantra. I believe I think like you with that list, as in 'what's next?' and 'what's next'.-maybe someday I'll be present most of the time!)

  4. We are on the same path, you and I, toward becoming more present, more aware. I wrote about similar things for today's slice. I haven't done yoga in years, but truth be told, I went to India in my early twenties to learn to meditate and do yoga and become more 'aware' in my life. Still on the path to awareness . . .

  5. A great mantra to remember - be present, be grateful, be aware. Writing these daily slices has definitely helped me be more in touch with the little things in my life. Thanks for giving me the words to focus on.

  6. Karen,
    What great reminders: be present, be grateful, be aware. I'm going to repeat those three phrases over and over for the next few days. I'm a "to-do" list kind of person as well and it's easy to not slow down to really take care of what is most important --- the people around me.

    I couldn't help, but also notice that everything you said doesn't only apply to yoga and our lives, but also to our classroom. These words caught my attention, "best yogis are not the most flexible or the ones with the best meditation skills; rather, they are the ones listening to their bodies and minds and working at the level at which they are most capable." I'm thinking that is also a good message for our young readers and writers.

    Thanks once again for being aware and present enough to share your story. (I think you are already listening to your own advice.)


  7. Yoga is something I want to start after reading your post. Great inspiration. I stumbled across your post whilst researching the benefits of yoga for tips on how to fall asleep and cure sleep deprivation. Thanks for the info! If you want to write an article for us then do get in touch