When I was in Grade Six, I switched schools. Along with the social awkwardness of being the new girl and trying to make friends, I was introduced to the anxiety producing world of exams.
The number of times in the last decade that I've told myself I was finally going to start meditating (like for real though) and then dropped off a day, a week or a month later is actually laughable.
I was initially hooked on the physical side of yoga because it delivered results I could see - a stronger body, an advancing practice and an increased ability to breath into poses that push me far outside of my comfort zone. Meditation on the other hand was 5 or 10 minutes of discomfort that just confirmed I was one of those people that talked to myself, all the time.
One of the main reasons - there are too many to count - that I feel called to share yoga with the world is because of what it's done for me. My practice was the first thing that gave me the tools to notice what was happening in my head, the perspective to see how this was impacting my life and the wisdom to know that the power to change was actually within me. It taught me that I always have a choice.
Here's the catch though. That choice is only available to me and you when we are able to recognize that something needs to change. We have to have the self-awareness to connect the dots between what we're thinking and how we're feeling.
I want you to be completely honest with yourself for a moment.
Do you spend more time appreciating your life or complaining about it?
I'd say a lot of us, even if we don't like to admit it, are complainers. We focus on what we think needs to change for us to finally accept ourselves. We set our sights on what we think we need to do to one day be happy. But as the saying goes, happiness is an inside job. It doesn't come from out there, we have to create it for ourselves.
"I'VE LIVED THROUGH SOME TERRIBLE THINGS IN MY LIFE,
SOME OF WHICH ACTUALLY HAPPENED"
- MARK TWAIN
I remember so clearly the first time I read this quote. I was living at home, a few months into the start of actually getting help with my anxiety. I had just started doing yoga. I was soaking up all the mental health information that I could and was specifically drawn to the stories of people who had been through something similar. It was comforting to hear that I wasn't the only one with a mind that ran wild.
I felt the same way.
It was the Fall of 2010 and I was going to yoga every single day. Power Yoga CanadaClarkson was like a second home to me. I was in love with the practice, inspired by the community and was finally starting to understand those people that claimed yoga had changed their life. I was constantly eyeing posters and hearing buzz around the next round of Kinndli’s 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training program that would be starting that January.
How many times this week have you been bombarded with the 'New Year, New You' campaigns? It seems that everywhere I turn there's a screen to watch, image to see, or article to read focused on what I'm going to do in 2017 to make myself better.
The pressure to come up with bold resolutions and big goals is high. January 1st hits and the world sheds it's pizza-eating, wine-guzzling, couch potato skins. We're supposed to instantly transform into radiant, gluten-free, sugar-free, sober beings who meditate daily and workout two hours a day.