After receiving two tickets last month, something about my state of awareness needed change. Ticket one: speeding. Ticket two: rolling through a stop sign. Without going in to the psychology of consciousness, my actions reminded me how much out of the present moment I was living robbing myself of enjoying the process of being, and therefore resulting in: hefty traffic violation fines, time wasted in traffic school, and remorse for being in such a hurry for no reason whatsoever.

My intention of this blog post is to identify with those of us who are racing through life, yoga poses, and relationships in hopes to find Y.O.G.A:

You On Gentle Awareness”

This basic principle of Y.O.G.A. is to serve as a reminder of how we live life on and off the mat. Can this awareness aid in the efforts of slowing down and becoming more conscious of the vital aspects life has to offer?

Y.O.G.A. serves to allow any practitioner to return to the basics of self, awareness, and connection. There are so many times when showing up to the yoga mat, I’ve permitted the mind to be in the drivers seat, completely taking over thoughts, feelings, and emotions.  Instead of finding the mat as a sanctuary, retreat, and reset, I have been guilty of falling out of awareness resulting in feeling more depleted than rejuvenated.

However, by showing up to the mat daily, there is magic behind connecting to the conscious state of being in which you can create an elevated state of enjoying the abundant gifts Y.O.G.A. has to offer.

Y.O.G.A. Guidelines:
1) It’s not about how you or the person next to you looks in yoga clothes or in a yoga pose

When awareness if focused on how you feel versus how you look, the feelings of comparison diminished and self-value is enhanced. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Our natural tendency when in a room of strangers is to seek out feelings of safety and security. By sizing up others or trying to find our place, we immediately engage in protection mode versus embracing the opportunity of what it means to be present and connected with others regardless of outside circumstances. In the end, you are good enough, just the way you are!

2) Sometimes, doing less = is more

There may be days on your mat that you may rock out in handstand, crow, dancer’s pose, etc. Other days you can barely make it out of child’s pose. Regardless of the circumstance, every day you choose to show up to the mat is going to provide a new experience and a small victory. The ability to shift perspective and accept where you are, how you are, and why you are, automatically allows for the mind to be soothed and body comforted. The more we fight ourselves in and out of postures, the less amount of richness we are able to take away from the connection of what being aware of the offerings of our body.

3) The mind is all over the map

Welcome to being human! We are products of our own suffering, attitudes, and choices. At times, the mind can feel like a hot mess of turbulence. If you are able to tap into the sensations of thought and recognize each thought as it’s own, there you are—on gentle awareness. The trick is to then find a way to remind oneself that thoughts are not real. They are conjured in our brain and are not the waking conditions of reality; however we spend endless amounts of energy trying to control thoughts and circumstances beyond our capability. Let go of what you cannot control…

 4) Remember to breathe

Become a connoisseur of breath. As much as some of us are connoisseurs of the finer things in life (wine, food, cars, cigars, etc.), the breath is the most vital aspect of our being and rarely given the attention it deserves. Breath is a vehicle that opens up the channels of resistance in the body.  The build up of residual emotions, tension, and stress are stored in our muscles. By allowing yourself to invest into the breath we experience: the body slowing down, decrease in heart rate, more oxygenated blood flow, and plenty of other life enhancing benefits. All of the aforementioned create a greater space of clarity and connection to our consciousness.

5) Choose self-love, compassion, and forgiveness

I didn’t realize how important loving myself was until I relied so heavily upon seeking love from someone that could not provide it. I was left shattered and heartbroken. The cultivation of self-love started from being aware of my actions, thoughts, and words while on the yoga mat. If I failed to get into a difficult posture, I berated myself as if I had committed a crime. If my mind was locked on past thoughts or trapped in trying to control my future, I was in a vortex of doom.  Until one day while in half-pigeon pose (goes to prove more about my love-hate relationship with my hips), the tears started to flow. Something inside of my heart was triggered to release and an outpour of compassion that settled into my body and seeped into my soul. If we are unable to get what we want, when we want, how we want, it is a recipe for disaster. The moment I made the choice to forgive and bring more love for “me” into my life, transformation started to occur.

Sometimes friends, we have to down shift gears to actually feel the difficult stuff—hurt, anger, resentment, betrayal, etc. That is what Y.O.G.A. allows: the connection of being present and alive. To overcome the temporary feelings that mask over love, forgiveness, and allowance. Let your awareness serve as a platform for healing, compassion, and slowing down!

Shine On…Y.O.G.A. love~