- You no longer have any expectations for the outcome of the class. You show up with an open mind and receptive heart.
Remember when the class had to be “hard”, “sweaty”, or “advanced” for you to feel like you “got something” out of the class? Now you experience gratitude for all teachers, all classes, and the space that houses the practice which allows you to move your body, feel your breath, and experience who you really are without any judgment!
- You know what Savasana is (and you actually look forward to it).
Remember when you would pick and leave early before the instructor started leading the class to final relaxation, or Corpse Pose? Remember how your mind would resist this pose and not allow your body rest when you lay down on your back? Now, not only do you know the significance of the Corpse Pose and its benefits, but you actually look forward to it, and love when it is at least a full 15 minutes of your class.
- You don’t worry about touching your toes, you are focused on your breath.
Remember when you thought the point of the forward bend stretch in yoga was about touching your toes? Now you have the ability to create a relaxation response in your body by watching your breath. Now you know that by slowing down and concentrating on the breath brings much more than physical flexibility- it brings inner peace and harmony.
- You know that Ahimsa, or non-harming, is a fundamental practice of yoga and can be done all the time, whether you are in a yoga class or in your daily life.
Remember when yoga class was all about pushing it further, harder, higher? Remember when you weren’t satisfied with your poses? Remember when you hurt yourself in class trying to do a pose “better”? Remember when you thought yoga was something you only did on a yoga mat? Now you know that there is no yoga without kindness and compassion. Now you know that yoga starts with kindness and acceptance to one’s Self. Now you know that yoga is life and life is yoga and it all begins with kindness and compassion for all beings everywhere.
- You drink tea with friends and your conversations no longer involve gossip.
Remember when you felt like you had to impress those around you? Remember when you felt like you didn’t fit in, or weren’t up to some perceived social standard? Now you realize that gossip is toxic and life is short, so you have chosen to put your energy into understanding who you are and what your purpose is. Now you surround yourself with people who want to be a positive change in the world.
- You schedule your day around your yoga practice.
Remember when it was so hard to find the time to do your practice? Remember when just about anything and everything would get in the way of getting to class? Now your practice is the lead dog. Everything else follows from there.
- You meditate.
Remember when you hadn’t heard about the benefits of meditation? Remember when you didn’t know what to do, or how to do it? Now, it is like brushing your teeth. You sit for at least 5 minutes every day. Your mind might race and your practice might not seem “good”, but you make the daily effort because you have realized the difference in your relationships and life.
- You smile and laugh more.
Remember when life seemed so hard? Remember when it felt like you were constantly swimming upstream against your family, friends and work? Now you feel in harmony with life around you and a lightness and easy-going quality to your relationships. You feel genuine joy and happiness in your heart.
- You are at ease in your body.
Remember when your hamstrings bothered you because they were as tight as iron rods? Remember when you were self-conscious about your body’s size/shape? Remember when you had chronic low back pain? Now you realize that you have a body, but you are not your body. Now you glow from the inside out, radiate peace and happiness, and float through time and space with grace and inner beauty. Now you are pain free.
- You know that yoga is a life long journey.
Remember when you were so intent on reaching the destination that you weren’t able to enjoy the scenery? Remember when you wanted so desperately to “be good at yoga”, to “have good poses”, to “have open hips” that you beat yourself up and sometimes actually felt bad about your yoga practice? Remember when you needed to “see results” so much that you caused injury to your shoulder, knee, back, or hamstring? Now you realize that the journey starts with one step, that the journey will take a life time (thank goodness, there is no pressure to “do it all” now!), and that the journey is perfect regardless of its various ups and downs.