How to Begin a Yoga Practice and Transform Self
“A giant pine tree grows from a tiny seed. The journey to uncover your inner peace begins with every practice.”
Taking the first step in a journey can be the hardest step to take, bringing anxiety and fear. The path is unknown and can seem intimidating if one does not know what to expect. The mind creates a monumental blockage, protecting you from the unknown. Yet, the mind holds you back from uncovering peace that always lies within. It perceives danger everywhere. If we have not learned how to acknowledge stress responses of the mind, we may constantly feel anxious, stressed, and doubtful of ourselves.
The mind’s job is to protect, but it overdoes its job. Through yoga, we learn how to relax the mind and ease tension throughout the body through practicing physical postures, breath-work, and meditation. In turn, we cultivate confidence, fortitude, and peace throughout all aspects and phases in our lives. It’s taking the first step, the first touch of the mat underneath your feet, that will begin the journey to uncover your peace. As Yoga Haven opens for the first time in Winter Haven, we all take that step together; into the unknown and embrace transformation, as a community.
1. Set seeds of intentions: Lay the foundation.
At the beginning of a yoga practice and the beginning of any cycle, planting seeds of intention lays the foundation for the course of the practice or cycle. Each new beginning carries the potential to promote transformation and self-discovery. The mind is extremely powerful and when prompted with a roadmap, the mind can take you to where you want to go. Questions you can ask yourself to prompt an intention could be:
-Why did I show up today? -Which direction do I want to see growth or transformation? On the mat or off?
2. Cultivate Awareness: Stay Present
It’s beneficial to cultivate awareness of changes happening within the self throughout the practice and cycles of life. (Also referred to as mindfulness). By developing awareness, we develop the ability to tune in to what we think, how we feel, and how much we feel it without interfering or changing the moment; acceptance. We can recognize patterns and tendencies that either propel us forward or hold us back. Rather than blaming ourselves, we begin to develop a compassionate understanding of ourselves as creatures of habit and allow ourselves to make habitual changes easier. Questions that can anchor you in the moment could be:
-What does my heartbeat feel like? -What emotion am I feeling? -Where do I feel this emotion? -What does my breathing feel like?
3. Flow with Change
On the mat and in life, we encounter various phases that lead to transformation. By learning to flow with change, rather than resist it, we can experience a sense of ease and acceptance throughout our journey. Just as the tide of your breath changes from moment to moment to forge to the situation, we learn to allow our lives to change and transform to the ever-changing experiences of life. Throughout these transformational periods, we learn to lean into our awareness and tune in to our limitlessness nature on the path of self-discovery. Questions to discover if you are resisting the flow could be:
-What am I resisting? -Where do I feel resistance in my body? -What is in my control and what is out of my control? -How can I change my perception to allow the practice and life to flow?
4. Let Go: Surrender to Transformation
During a yoga practice and the cycle of transformation, we must learn to let go of what no longer serves us. This could be old habits, limiting beliefs, or attachments to past experiences. By relinquishing these burdens, we create space for new possibilities to emerge, facilitating our growth and evolution. Questions to prompt letting go could be:
-Am I holding on to something that no longer serves my journey? -Where can I let go? -Where in my body can I relax?
5. Embrace Uncertainty: The beauty that unfolds
Your practice will present itself with unexpected twists and turns, embrace the uncertainty with a sense of curiosity. This will allow you to explore the uncharted territory of your capabilities and potential. It’s through these precise moments of discomfort that we can experience profound transformations.
Let us remember that the essence of yoga lies not just in the physical postures, but also in the wisdom it imparts about life’s ever-changing nature. By setting intentions, cultivating awareness, flowing with change, letting go, and embracing uncertainty on the mat, we become better equipped to navigate the beautiful yet unpredictable path of transformation. May we carry the lessons learned on our yoga mats into the world, embracing every new beginning with a heart open to growth and a spirit that dances with the cycles of life.
Take your first step or continue dancing on your journey with Yoga Haven. We have classes every day with a variety of teachers that will support your unique path.