Lessons from the Mat is a continuing series of the top 10 things that I have learned since beginning Bikram Yoga. Enjoy!
#10 Gratitude is one of the most beautiful gifts you can give yourself
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I first began my yoga journey because of the physical benefits of the practice. I wanted to heal my body from an overuse injury and a challenging knee surgery that did not go accord to plan. I came to my mat most days wanting something out of the practice. I would mentally beat myself up if my balance was off or I struggled with a posture that I could easily do the day before. I found that I would focus more of my attention on what I couldn’t do than what I could do. One day as we lying in final savasana, the Instructor’s parting words were “focus on all of the wonderful things in your life…your breathe, your health, the opportunity to practice today, your family and friends”. Such a simple parting phrase but one with such huge implications. I realize that I had been coming to my mat “wanting” something, something that I thought was missing. I had spent all of my focus on energy on focusing on what was missing that I couldn’t really see all the good things that were already present in my life. I realized then that I needed to change my perspective on how I approached my practice. I started to noticed that I would get excited over the things that I could do in class and the wonderful calmness my body experienced after a practice. While it is still struggle to focus on what I can do, I have noticed that my practice and life has deepened and opened up more over time with an “attitude of gratitude”.
Ok, and now the “rest of the story”. I have used this learning opportunity many times over the last few years. I left the corporate over two years ago world to pursue my passion of sharing yoga with everyone. As with all things in life, the journey can be bumpy. The highs are amazing but they are also followed by periods of low times. I realize now that I use my yoga practice to get through the lows as much as the highs. When things get particularly challenging, I find myself wanting to be in the yoga room more and more so that I can bring this perspective of gratitude to the front. I found ketting a gratitude list and sharing what I am thankful for with others is a great daily reinforcement tool. Try it for yourself. You might be surprised by what comes up on your list over and over again.
Amy Clement is a certified Bikram Yoga Instructor and owns Bikram Yoga Lake Norman. She has practiced Bikram Yoga for over 12 years and still considers herself to be a beginner. She retired from the corporate world after 26 years to purse her passion of sharing this yoga with everyone.