I’d attempted yoga before.
A few times.
I say attempted, as that’s what it actually felt like.
Shockingly, it was when I lived in Santa Monica, California. In those experiences
there were no OMs, no meditation and nothing spiritual. And here I thought yoga
was supposed to be this mind/body thing but I didn’t experience that. I should also
mention I was in an over-a-decade-long love affair with Gold’s Gym Venice, The
Mecca, lifting weights and drinking protein shakes. To me that was exercise!
Years have passed. Life has changed and oddly it’s come from moving east, not west.
I’ve gone from daily drinking to daily meditating. I’ve abandoned the bar and dating
quest for the cooking-healthy and committed, loving relationship. I’ve left a
successful 20-year groundhog day like Hospitality career to be a DreamMason
(Leadership, Life, & Relationship Coach and Speaker), something I love and am
passionate about. I’ve even gone from resenting God & religion to discovering a
deep and divine spiritual connection.
That’s a lot of transformation.
Now where does yoga come in? A few months ago I started feeling blasé with my
gym routine. I was bored and unmotivated. I stopped going. I tried to reboot it.
That didn’t work. I tried Crossfit. It wasn’t what I was looking for.
For the first time in my life I just stopped exercising.
I decided I wanted to take on a new commitment for 30 days. I also wanted to use
this commitment as a foundation for rebuilding trust and integrity with myself.
After all, who do you lie and break commitments to most in life? If you’re like most
people, it’s yourself. We promise ourselves we are going to get healthy, lose weight,
go to bed earlier, use or phones less, get a new job, or travel more. And most of the
time what happens? We break those commitments. To our detriment we just do
what we always do, we justify or come up with excuses or circumstances to keep the
comfortable status quo.
A few weeks prior a friend took me to her yoga studio. I was so self-conscious and
insecure, as in the past I couldn’t enjoy the experience.
Why couldn’t I do a handstand like that 145-pound dude? I was way stronger than
Does the hot girl in all spandex think I look fat or lame as I’m gasping for air as I
struggle to do this awkward twist?
I believe there is no pinnacle to our greatness, we can always improve, rise higher
and learn something new. Growth and transformation comes from exploring the
unknown, and the unknown is typically uncomfortable. As a person who is
determined to create greater personal growth and self-discovery, and as a coach
who helps facilitate that with my clients, I saw this as an opportunity to get
comfortable with the uncomfortable. I could see that my issues with yoga were
about me, my insecurities, my expectations, needing to be good at things right away,
my relationship to results and my excessive judgments about myself and others.
Yoga seemed like the perfect 30-day challenge.
30 days would push me mentally, physically and is enough time to push my limits in
regards to commitment and circumstances. I live in New York City, I’m busy. How
was I going to fit 60-90 minutes, plus the commutes, changing, and showers into my
already busy life? In 30 days, life, people, work, money, time or circumstances were
bound to show up and try and get in my way.
So what did I learn? First, I learned that I could do 30 straight days of yoga and that
I love how yoga makes me feel. After every class I felt that my body, my brain and
my soul had taken a spiritual bath. To enjoy the gifts of yoga I quickly learned to get
out of my head. I noticed how much my self-judgment and judgments of others hold
me back from experiencing true freedom. Not only does this habit keep me from
getting out of my own way in discovering my authentic self and what I truly desire,
but it also prevents me from living a truly authentic purposeful life.
Surprisingly, I learned so much about support through sharing my goal. When I
started telling people about this 30 day challenge they supported me, actually got
excited for me, rooted me on and a lot of people ended up coming to yoga with me.
Then there’s the best and least expected part. The new people I met, the new
relationships I formed, and the beauty, friendship, support and love that came into
my life. All my judgments and my fears led me to be inauthentic and were
preventing me from the opportunities and relationships that life provides. This
commitment created one of the best months of my life. I am grateful to NYC’s
Laughing Lotus yoga studio a magical balance and blend between hip-hop and
Ganesha, Venice’s vegan, yogi-meets-skater vibe and a touch of San Francisco
crunchy-granola ambiance for welcoming me with open arms.
Yoga went from being a place of fear and judgment to a place of love, comfort,
friendship, compassion, learning, healing and growth. This happened because I kept
coming back and it happened because of the things that brought me back, love, the
people and the community.
There is something transformative about sitting with a group of people who are all
in different places in their lives and yoga journey, yet are all in class to experience
the same workout, teacher, and spiritual growth together. The warmth, love, smiles,
and enthusiasm from those who worked at the front desk, the teachers, and the
other yogis, kept me wanting to come back. I don’t think I’ve ever met so many
positive, supportive, happy and passionate people. The community was all love.
Yoga changed my life. I realize that by saying we want to do things and by avoiding
commitment we hide from new experiences or challenges and in that I was actually
choking myself with my own hand, ensuring my own failure or disappointment. In
committing I was pushed to give up my expectations and judgments, and was then
able to experience something scary and new. I actually found calmness, peace,
clarity, joy and love. I learned how easy and joyful a commitment can be when you
plan, decide, take action and then just let yourself go.
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