Life Lessons From Yoga With Adriene
By Elisa Juarez February 2020
Yoga is one of my favorite forms of exercise, especially since I found Adriene! The practice of yoga is a physical and mental discipline with a spiritual foundation, as it aims to bring mind, body and spirit into balance and alignment. I have been doing yoga for most of my adult life, and have found that it reduces stress, increases flexibility, improves balance, and builds strength. Several years ago, my daughter introduced me to “Yoga with Adriene” on YouTube, and I began to follow and participate in her programs. Incidentally, Adriene graduated from the theater program at St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX, as did my daughter. Adriene brings the Austin vibe and occasional theatrics to her routines, making her program authentic, creative, and fun. She meets you where you are and welcomes you to the mat, sharing her thoughts and ideas for a healthy, happy life along with the movements and postures. I have embraced her philosophy in my daily life, well beyond the yoga mat. Here are some examples:
1. Show up for yourself on the mat. Take time for yourself. Sometimes that is the hardest part. 2. Find what feels good. Listen to your body; don’t push or force it. 3. Make it your own. Find something new each time. 4. If you fall, no worries. 5. Breathe, and move with the breath. Inhale, lots of love in; exhale, lots of love out. 6. Remember that you’re not in this alone. There is a community of people doing this with you, all over the world.
Every one of these yoga guidelines can be applied to other areas of my life, and help to reduce stress, increase flexibility, improve balance, and build strength. It truly is a holistic practice, bringing us into higher awareness and acceptance of our own mind-body. Adriene reminds me that:
#1 – By showing up on the mat I have accomplished the biggest step. #2 – Each person is unique, and I can trust and honor my body by paying attention to what it’s telling me. It’s okay to do what feels good; I don’t have to experience pain in order to gain. There are always options, and I should choose the ones that work best for me. #3 – It helps to have examples and guidelines, but ultimately this is my program, my body, my life. In order to honor my authentic self, I need to learn to trust it and make my life and work my own! #4 – Don’t be afraid of falling or failing; it’s all part of the process. Be willing to try new things, stretch yourself, and stumble along the way. If I keep showing up and doing the work, I will wake up one day and see how far I’ve come. I will discover that I am stronger and more flexible than when I started. #5 – Breathing consciously keeps me aware and relaxed. It helps me to focus and move more easily. #6 – I am part of a global community of people who are living, moving, and breathing with awareness and intention. My efforts add energy to the movement toward health and happiness for all of humanity.
Those are some simple yet powerful lessons for living fully and freely, for finding balance and wholeness. Yoga takes discipline, practice, patience, and trust. So does everything else in life. As I learn to accept myself where I am, as I am, and make this path my own, I experience a sense of freedom and flexibility. I become more open to new steps and stretches. I increase my compassion for myself and others. I allow more love in, and more love out.
Thank you, Adriene, for showing up on the mat and in our world at this turbulent time on our planet. Thank you for bringing your wisdom and truth to the practice. Thank you for helping us to breathe, relax, trust, focus, and find balance. You are helping us to live with greater awareness, flexibility, and silliness. In reminding us that we are ONE, you are bringing hope and healing to humanity.
Here is the link to her YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFKE7WVJfvaHW5q283SxchA