Two Years, Two Months Community Love

SUKHA Squan is coming on the two year anniversary and SUKHA South just hit the two month mark in July.

New faces walking through the door everyday. First time yogis, some that have not practiced in years and some that have been practicing but could not find a place where they were comfortable.

Men and Women. All ages. All sizes.

I asked a few of the SUKHA men and women to write a short testimonial on how yoga has changed their lives. And I am going to share their responses with you.

"I started yoga after a serious bike injury to increase flexibility by stretching, but also enjoyed an increase in core strength which has helped my tennis and golf game. There have been many additional benefits from every instructor such as stress relief, open mindfulness and a sense of being more connected to oneself and others."-RF

"SUKHA is my first yoga experience. EVER. Not only do I feel better physically; a stronger core, great stretching and better balance, but the class and the people make me feel better mentally. The music is great and the workout is perfect. I leave the class every morning with a great outlook on the day and living"-KS

"Yoga has helped me so much with strengthening my core, increasing my flexibility and my balance has gotten much better. I can feel the difference with other workouts and playing soccer"-GF

"Yoga at SUKHA is no joke. It is a full-body workout unlike anything I have ever experienced before. Attending class is a great way to start each day and makes me feel strong and ready for anything"-RF

"Yoga is for women. That is the common perception. I have now been taking classes at SUKHA with Maribeth and her amazing teachers for two years and I have never felt better. I had suffered with chronic back pain issues for years and mostly because of yoga those issues no longer exist. My flexibility and y strength have improved greatly.  Maribeth makes everyone feel so comfortable and relaxed with her non-intimidating approach to teaching and there is definitely an incredible sense of friendship and family the minute you walk into her non-intimidating studio. I have encouraged many friends to try yoga with Maribeth and SUKHA and those who have also have become hooked. Yoga is not only for women. A true life changer!"-RB


"Yoga started because of the gym. Folks kept telling me I should try it. Of course it was
not until the class moved to a little space a mile or so from the gym that I started to go.

But at first it was about the exercise, the sweat-- -getting back into shape. And yoga is
great for that. I had already been going to the gym for almost two years. Lost 30 pounds. I lost
20 more pounds in the first 4 months of yoga.

But it wasn’t just the sweat. I was reminded of other parts of life long forgotten. Mindful
relaxation, mediation, faith that there is some joyous purpose to life, and we are all going to get there together. A focus on what you can do for yourself to enhance life, yours and those around you. A return to spirituality as a balance to the workday world of task after task after task. And because there are so many of us now on this journey a shared sense of purpose,
shared history, and shared yearnings has developed into a sense of family."-KR

"Sukha makes me feel like I've hit the reset button..physically, emotionally and mentally. And it's always good for a ton of laughs"-SB

"Sukha makes me feel like I am part of a non-judgmental community of acceptance and growth, both spiritually and physically, and to hear cool ass tunes"-CH

"Yoga makes me feel more connected to myself and to my yoga friends at SUKHA"-MD

"Sukha makes me feel happy and accomplished"-MGS

"Sukha makes me feel comfortable and strong"-MS

 

FAMILY.

FRIENDSHIPS.

FUN.

All of these three words above make me smile. My favorite "F" words. Minus one that I will only say in class! ha ha

Most of these men and women have been coming to SUKHA since day 1! Not one day a week, Not two, but three to four days a week. I am so proud of everyone of them.

Is it only about the physical practice. There is so much more. 

These men and women connected. Here. On their yoga mats for the first time.

It's amazing how contagious building a community can be. The Brick location is following down the same path. Not many knew each other. Some were so scared to even walk in. A few trembling. 

I greet them at the front desk, we chat, and connect. Then they open the curtain to make their way into the studio. Not knowing what to expect.

Well; as you all know, I hear and see everything. What is it that I hear behind the curtain?

"Hi, I am "xyz" and you are? Welcome. "Don't be nervous". "You will do great". The chatter. The welcome wagon! It is truly amazing. 

We have built a warm, loving community.

I am looking to share this with everyone.

Clients, local business owners, kids, seniors and families.

"Community over Competition". Not just in yoga. Everywhere.

What does this mean?

Community over Competition reminds us that our community is our family. They help you through tough times, give advice, have coffee or a beer and support you every step of the way. 

I think adults in our society need to hit the reset button and reprogram their thoughts and mentality. Maybe they should try yoga! ha ha. Oh shit, but wait.......

As kids, we received trophies for sports. We picked teams. Some were picked last. How heart breaking is that? These feelings carry with us forever. We were raised to compete and it has been embedded in us.

Let's hit ctrl alt del

Creating a community feels so good. The energy, the lightness, the smiles, the compassion. We are all connected and we need to continue to  embrace, love and support each other.

 

xoxoxoxo

MB

 

 

Speaking Your Truth

Well, here it goes my friends. It has to be blogged one of these days and tonight is the perfect time to speak my truth about something I have been holding back on for a while now.

As many of you know, I have not been practicing for too long. My story is short and sweet and pretty f'in cool.

I tried it, I loved it, I went to training, I starting teaching, Recreation asked me to teach yoga, it grew, and grew. And here I am today. The truth. Two studios later. Minus a few "friends". But I have gained a shit load more. That are my family. Real, genuine people who practice yoga at SUKHA. They respect me, the teachers, and most of all the SUKHA Philosophy. 

Years ago when I was living in NYC. I was living uptown and Maria was living downtown, I remember her telling me she was going to study to be a yoga teacher. Yoga was not big then. BUT, if anyone would be a yoga instructor it was her. You see, my impression of a yogi, was always someone like Maria. Since the day I met her in 1986. Sweet, caring, honest, real and she would do anything for anyone. Maria never got angry. Maria always spoke her truth. Maria is a good friend. A friend who is proud of my accomplishments, a friend who teaches, a friend who does not lie, a friend who asks for advice and a friend who gives amazing advice.

So, years later, I always thought that ALL YOGIS were like Maria. The Truth.

I was wrong. After the Squan studio grew, I grew, my yoga community grew and I began to get heat. And I am still getting it. #everydamnday. From who? Just guess.

It is getting old. The mystery phone calls from other studios, the yoga instructors walking into SUKHA South giving false names, looking at my sign in book instead in my eyes and pretending they are someone they are not just to get information, the instructors that were hell bent on getting my book of business so they can bring it to another studio. The list goes on.

Are these people truly practicing yoga? They may be physically practicing, but are they practicing the Five Yamas?

Let's just talk about the second shall we?

Yama 2: Satya TRUTHFULNESS-seeing and reporting things as they are rather than the way we would like them to be.

REFRAIN FROM TELLING LIES and speak with kindness, compassion and clarity. 

If you have any questions, my fellow yogis, please call me directly stating your real name. If you want to come in a take a peak, tell me where you really teach and what your intentions are. Want to grab a bite to eat? Call me. Let's Chat. I am lots of fun. Come take a class or ask any of the SUKHA Family. I am sure they will fill you in.

I am not perfect. I announce that I am not perfect. I may not teach the yoga philosophy in all of my classes, but my dharma talks always go to a yoga teaching in some way. And I ALWAYS speak my truth. Sometimes too much. This blog is a perfect example.

I am not focused on being Instagram famous or being a Ambassador for a clothing line.

My number one focus is to make feel people comfortable, happy, confident and to teach yoga in a non-intimidating atmosphere and have fun while doing so. 

Helping others is very important to me. Volunteering my time for LOCAL charities and foundations without a reward in return.

The communities where I teach have been so kind to me and it is my turn to give back.

So, the bottom line is. Speak your truth. Be kind. Practice yoga off the mat. If you teach it, make sure you practice.

I am not competing with anyone. That is not my goal. You run your business and I will run my business. So.....MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.

xoxoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go Back To The Basics

SUKHA "The Non-Intimidating" Yoga Studio. 

Is SUKHA for beginners only? That seems to be what people think. The answer is no. SUKHA is for everyone. Yoga is a practice for the mind, body and soul whether you have been practicing for 1 day or 15 years. We learn new poses everyday. So, EVERYONE is a beginner. No one knows it all. We are not GOOGLE.

Just like life, we learn something new every day.

Leave the ego at the door. There is no need to look for the toughest teachers and force yourself to get into the toughest pose. Why? So you can post a really fast picture on Instagram and walk out limping? 

Advance your practice by going back to the basic fundamentals.

Every teacher has a different way of approaching a pose and describing it. All of the teachers at SUKHA have a different way of teaching. We make sure everyone in the room is comfortable no matter what level.

We all have a different "personal practice". It doesn't mean we teach that way. 

We ALL modify every class accordingly based on each students level. That is what teachers do. We accommodate; modify and support. EVERYONE! EVERY CLASS! 

Open up your mind, maybe go back to the beginners mindset and be proud of how far you have come. 

There are two workshops approaching soon at SUKHA.

This Saturday, June 17th at 10:30, join Maria Preuster for a Back Bending workshop.  Learn the fundamentals as your open your heart and your mind.

Saturday, July 15th at 10:30, join Melanie for "Yoga FUNdamentals". Whether you are new to yoga, or don't know your asana from your elbow, this workshop is for you. Build confidence on and off the mat by going back to the basics. From breath work to modifications. First class or 101st class. We can all use a refresher. 

All welcome. Except EGO. They can be left at the door.

Thinking of Trying Yoga or Maybe Ditching Yoga?

After speaking to a few people this weekend about yoga and "changing it up", the feedback was "XYZ" place tore my hamstring, I was sore for days, My shoulder popped out from lifting". I can't do that again. Yoga feels better. No equipment necessary. 

Or "I don't have time to practice". You can practice in yoga in your kitchen!! #justdoit

On the flip side, many emails coming through asking "I am dying to try yoga but I am scared, I don't have an outfit, and I have not stretched in 50 years"! And the famous line "I can't touch my toes".

Well, I thought I would post a great article I found this morning to share with those who want to start, and those who are thinking about "ditching yoga".

Here you go. Happy Sunday my friends! xoxo

Thinking of Ditching Yoga? You May Want to Reconsider

By Emily Waters 

Yoga has so many mental and physical health benefits, it is hard to actually count and keep track of. Since any form of exercise is beneficial for one’s mental and physical health, the majority of individuals today rely exclusively on cardiovascular/aerobic activities, while throwing to the wayside yoga/meditation or other forms of diaphragmatic breathing designed to have a powerful effect on your body and mind. In case you need a gentle reminder and a little motivation, let us review the myriad health benefits of yoga that are designed to keep you feeling well both physically and mentally as you age well into your golden years.

  • Supercharges your brain. As little as 25-30 minutes of yoga increases your memory, attention span, focus and helps you process information more accurately and quickly.
  • Soothes stress. Practicing yoga can have immediate psychological effects. Among these are cultivating a sense of calm, and decreasing anxiety and stress. Over time, these positive mental benefits occur even when you are in your kitchen cooking a meal, and off your mat!
  • Improving flexibility. In a few studies to date, yoga increased people’s flexibility by up to 35 percent after only 7-8 weeks of practice.
  • Increases balance. Certain poses enhance balance, and in older individuals specifically can actually reduce the number of falls they have, and reduce their fear of falling.
  • Fends off weight gain. Those who practice yoga regularly gain less weight as they age than do those who don’t practice.
  • Boosts body confidence and image. Women who practiced yoga on a regular basis rated their body satisfaction higher, regardless of current weight, than those who pursued other forms of exercise.
  • Relieves headaches. Yoga reduces the frequency and intensity of various headaches, including migraines, and tension headaches.
  • Reduces depression. Studies show that yoga can lesson symptoms of depression, like feeling lethargic and overall fatigue. One reason may be yoga’s boost to GABA, a neurotransmitter that is often low in people who are depressed.
  • Protects your heart. Yoga, when practiced consistently reduces blood pressure, lowers level of harmful LDL cholesterol by almost 12 points, and lost an average of 5 pounds.
  • Promotes more zzz’s. This is really great news for insomniacs. After 2 months of practicing yoga for 45 minutes before bed, students fell asleep 15-18 minutes faster, and had more quality REM sounding sleep leading to more than a half hour longer each night in deep sleep than controls.
  • Lessons inflammation. I have written about chronic inflammation in the past that is linked with a whole host of health issues from diabetes, depression, obesity, and high blood pressure to name a few. In regular yoga practice, yoga tends to lower levels of cytokines-as immune system protein associated with this.
  • Slows aging. With yoga therapy and yoga based stretching, scientists have discovered it may lengthen telomeres-the end caps of chromosomes that affect aging, and that consequently shorten every year we age.
  • Controls diabetes. Men and women with type 2 diabetes who practiced yoga for 5-6 months saw a substantial decrease in their blood glucose levels, a recent new study found.
  • Encourages Exercise. Inactive people enrolled in some form of yoga for a minimum of 8 weeks found that this markedly increased the chances they would partake in other physical activities. This is largely due to the release of dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins all flooding your body.
  • Improves your day, and your mood. Various studies over the last 10 years have shown that yoga lowers stress including workplace stress, and promotes general well being. This zen disposition is not only visible on the outside, but the transformation is taking place from within, which contributes to a longer lasting positive effect on your health.

The list goes on and on, and this is far from an exhaustive list. It might be tempting to skip yoga as part of your exercise routine, and to shave off some time for yourself, but given all the health benefits, it might be wise to continue using it in your exercise regimen if you already incorporate it, or reconsider doing yoga alongside your aerobic activities to improve your overall mental and physical health and well being. It is important to remember that yoga is not about how much you weigh or how flexible you are, and that there are various forms of yoga suitable for different interests. As trite as the old adage sounds, when it comes to yoga, it really is never too late to start no matter your age. So get rollin!

 

Proud and Grateful

I shared this with the 6:00 am class this morning and wanted to share it with everyone!

For the most part, all of you in this room come to SUKHA every morning faithfully 2 to 3 times per week. Some 4 times.

This past Sunday inspired me to write this dharma for today.

Having everyone home safely from Spring Break, the energy, the fun, the chatter, the music, and most of all; YOU!

This is rare. What has happened here. The energy that walks in this room is truly uplifting and so rewarding.

Think about it. If you win in the morning, you win the day. Mornings set the tone for the rest of the day. All of you get up early, arrive at SUKHA starting at 5:30 am. You arrive with smiles. We talk, laugh and ask how everyone is doing. Amazing friendships have been made in this classroom.

I may sound like a real classroom teacher but I am so proud of all of you! Most of us are in our 40's, 50's and 60's, getting up to practice yoga. The best practice for the mind, body and soul!

We come together on our mats and off.

We truly care about each other.

We help one another.

We inspire.

We encourage.

We tell our stories.

We have each others back.

We are REAL.

People were designed to be in communion with one another. We are not meant to be alone, and our lives are enriched by strong bonds and friendships. Life is better when it's lived along side and for others.

We are all here, in this classroom for a few reasons. Physically, mentally, and spiritually. Deep down, I believe we are all meant to be in each others lives.

I am dedicating this class to all of my SUKHA family.

We may not be spring chickens anymore, but if we continue to look within daily, we will be around for a long time. We will age gracefully providing a sense of self acceptance and gratitude that is often missing in one's younger years, as well as a gradual quieting of the ego as perfection ceases to be a goal.

Flexibility, skill and vitality continue to sustain our bodies as we get older, but the self acceptance, self knowledge and forgiveness that deepen and grow through our yoga practice here at SUKHA make aging a process of more, not less enjoyment.

Thank you for being you.

Thank you for choosing me to guide you through your unconventional yoga practice every damn day!

Keep up the good work my friends!

Thank you for allowing me to be me!!

xoxoxo

Playlist upon request

 

Snapchat's Aprils Fool's Joke and Sukha's April Fool's Joke

We all know that Instagram pretty much copied Snapchat.

This April Fool's Day, Snapchat decide to play a joke on Instagram by rolling our a filter that looks almost exactly like Instagram's story interface.

This April Fool's Day fell on a Saturday. 

My dharma for Saturday was done by Thursday night totally not thinking that April Fool's Day was Saturday. But that's okay because my Sunday 8:00 am crew is the best crew to play a joke on; and indeed that is what I did.

It didn't take me too long and the playlist was a breeze.

As always, they started piling in at 7:35, coffee, mingling, laughing, and buying new SUKHA tanks.

Then 7:59 came around and I started to shake and get a pit in my stomach as if this joke was not a joke.

I had them all lay on their mats. Most did. The ones who always sit up, did not. I made them. Telling them I had something very important to tell them.

I heard "Oh no, this doesn't sound good".

It isn't I said. In fact it is bad news.

I received a call from Rec saying that the pub crawl was not professional and risky and they decided to close down Sukha North!!

Well; mostly all sprung up, Martha looked like she was going to kick someone's ASS. I tried so hard not to laugh. I kept a very straight face. And asked them to please all relax and let's practice.

And it was a very, very, Belated April Fool's Day at SUKHA. Well done, I must admit. Funny as shit too!!!

For those reading this that may wish it was true, sorry folks. It was a joke. Not going anywhere, but location number 2 in Brick!!!!

Love you all!

Thank you for making it amazing to love what I do everyday!!

Pay Per Click? Don't be a D*%K!

Here is are of my thoughts on pay per click campaigns and customer service. Having a background in both, there are a few things on my mind.

Be who you are. It reflects your business. 

Be kind. Don't be nasty. There is no need to buy key words that are not your primary focus of business. 

 "Pay-per-dick", I mean (damn auto correct) "Pay-Per-Click" campaigns are great for BIG business. 

SUKHA is not a gym. SUKHA is a Yoga Studio. We have mats, not DUMB bells. 

Sales down? Looking for business?

How about starting with customer service: Here is a very good tip:

"Good customer service is treating customers with a friendly, helpful attitude. Good customer service means helping customers efficiently, in a friendly manner.  It's one of the things that can set your business apart from the others of IT'S KIND".

Click Away my friends. It's a great read. 

"Keep on CLICKING"

"Keep on CLICKING"

"Keep on CLICKING"

 

 

Everything Is Going To Be Fine

"Everything Will Be Fine"!

Something I find myself saying;  "Everything Will Be Fine" to my kids, my SUKHA family and to myself during hard times. At times, it may feel like they are just words when you don't know what else to say. I truly mean it. With hope, faith, a positive mind set and a shit load of love; everything is going to be fine.

At the present time it does not sound so helpful when your friends and family may be feeling like everything is falling apart. Health issues, divorce, death, tragedies, and finance problems. 

Whatever it may be, it may not be okay now, but that's okay. It's okay not be fine.

We all go through tough times. Some suck more than others.

But you will get through it. We are strong and powerful. Have faith and trust. You are not alone. There is so much love around you to support you during the bad times. Stay strong and positive my friends. You got this!!

I found this AMAZING blog written by Heidi Priebe. It was perfect to read during class. After reading to myself last night and then out loud over the phone, it struck me. But not as hard as it did reading to all of you today. I found myself choking up and then the tear. (or maybe more than one). ha

Please read carefully out loud, to yourself and to someone else. 

Everything Is Going to Be Fine

You’re one year and seven weeks old and you cannot take two steps without falling over, even though everyone else around you can. You can’t speak without your words coming out in starts and stops. You can’t make sense of where you are or who’s around you, even though you sense that in some way, that it’s supposed to make sense. You often fall asleep in one place and wake up somewhere different altogether. But you’re okay. You’re going to grow up. Everything is going to be fine.

You’re eight years old and you are starting to discover there’s a hierarchy, even on the playground. You are not at the top. You read a lot of books, you hand in your homework on time, you do everything your parents say to do but it doesn’t always translate ideally. You’re starting to scrutinize yourself. The way your body looks, the way your voice sounds, the way you cannot run as fast or make others laugh as loudly as the other kids around you. You don’t know how to grow up right. But you’re eight years old. There’s a world outside the playground, you just can’t see it yet. Everything is going to be fine.

You’re seventeen. You’ve been accepted to the college you wanted, but your boyfriend got in on the other coast. You don’t want to be a high school cliche. You don’t want to have to move on alone. You’re starting to realize, for the first time in your life, that you’ll have to make choices that are not win-win. You’re going to have your heart in two places at once. Life isn’t simple or linear or easy to predict the way it used to be. Your heart is breaking and everyone is buzzing excitedly about your future. You’re not ready for your future. But it’s going to come, and it’s going to be better than you could have imagined. Everything is going to be fine.

You’re twenty-two, and at your college graduation. You have a job prospect lined up and a sky-high list of ambitions and more privilege than a lot of your classmates. But you’re not sure you can live up to your big, huge plans and dreams. You’re not sure you can make it outside of this city that made you into the person you are, with the friends who have taken up the biggest, hugest place inside your heart for so many years. You’re not sure you even want to make it. You’re not sure that there’s anything better out there. You don’t know yet that there is, it’s just a very different ‘better.’ Just a ‘better’ that is sweet in all the ways your current ‘better’ is sour. Just a ‘better’ that might not be better at all, it’s just happiness in a different form. A form you can’t imagine yet, because you are twenty-two and scared. But you won’t be forever. Everything is going to be fine.

You’re twenty-six and falling behind in every way. You’re more alone than you knew you could be, you’re more lost than you ever thought possible. Your heart has invested in too many people who left. Your plans have been built around too many empires that fell. You’re twenty-six and sitting at your dining room table with a steaming cup of coffee and the silence you’ve forgotten how to fill. You don’t know if things get to come together for you. You don’t know if you’re going to become one of those people who can ever say they got their lives in order. You’re worried that you’re going to fade away into insignificance, but you won’t. Because you’re twenty-six and you’ve forgotten that being found first means getting lost. Which means you’re exactly where you ought to be. Everything is going to be fine.

You’re thirty-four and you’re supposed to know more by now. You’re supposed to understand how to make a relationship last, how to structure and provide for other people, how to keep yourself in check when all of the shit hits the fan, but you don’t know. You’re thirty-four years old and there are days where you still want to curl into your mother’s lap and hear her tell you it’ll all be alright. Except soon you’re going to be someone else’s mother, soon you’re going to be the one someone comes to for hope and for comfort, and you’re not sure that you’re up to the task. You’re not sure you will ever know enough. Except you will. Because you already know everything you need to. You just can’t see that yet. Everything is going to be fine.

You’re fifty and you’re not sure how the years have gone so fast. You’re worried that you’re stuck now – on the singular path that you’ve chosen, on the life that you built with young hands. You’re fifty and you’ve watched too many of the people you love already leave you, clutched too tightly to what you have left. You’re not sure if the future belongs to you at all anymore, or if it’s only left for others. For the children taking their first steps, for the eight-year-olds sizing themselves up on the playground. You’ve forgotten that you were once each of those people. That so many times felt like the end, just like now. But it wasn’t the end. It never is. Everything is going to be fine.

You’re eight-five and you cannot take two steps without falling over, even though everyone else around you can. You can’t speak without your words coming out in starts and stops. You can’t make sense of where you are or who’s around you, even though you sense that in some way, it’s supposed to make sense. You’re eight-five and on some days you are twenty-two years old, with your college diploma in your fingers and your hopes and dreams aligned. You’re eight-five and some days you are thirty-six years old watching your child take his first unsuspecting steps. You are eighty-five years old and you’re not entirely sure, most days, if your life is ending or beginning, but a part of you suspects that it’s both. A part of you knows that there has never been a true ending before this, and maybe there are no true endings after. You finally know that you are every version of yourself you’ve ever been. That there will still be versions you can’t see yet. Everything is going to be fine

By: Heidi Priebe

 

 

Three Steps to being a "Successful" Yogi.

Happy Monday!!

Wanted to share this great article by Ashley Colloton Loescher that was posted on Elephant Journal.

I hope you all have a great day!! Stay dry and safe!!

Our yoga practice started long before we think.

It began on the day of our birth, with our first breath. When our body was exposed to the temperature of the room, the lights, the sound of mother’s voice. With time, we continuously became more aware of when something hurt and when something felt good.

We developed an understanding of how our thoughts, words and actions affected ourselves, and others. With experience, we became more mindful of all the pieces that make up daily life.

As we all continue to learn and grow with our yoga, there will be good days and bad. So life goes, no matter what hobbies or careers we choose to pursue. As natural ebbs and flows continuously present themselves, I have learned three key principles to staying grounded and focused while remaining a successful yogi.

1. Humility.

Initially, I experienced feelings of jealousy and envy as my peers began performing more advanced postures and receiving opportunities to teach yoga. It forced me to confront my feelings of insecurity, asking myself questions such as, “Does my own self-worth lessen because of the success of another?”

I found that my discomfort came from feeling a sense of ownership and seeking attention and approval through the practice. Once I was able to identity these selfish desires and refocus on yoga in a truer sense, I was able to give credit to others and feel genuine happiness as they succeeded. I found that humility allowed me to remain unattached to the outcome.

As we gain more and more techniques and knowledge, the key is to stay humble. Avoid fueling ego, wanting or needing something from practicing or teaching. Remember that yoga is a universal language shared by all beings. Gaining knowledge of yoga does not make one superior; rather, it makes us all equal. Stay unattached to identifying with yoga and seeking ownership of something that belongs to no one.

Ways to create more humility in your life:

>> Avoid seeking recognition.
>> Give credit and praise to others.
>> Share what you know and congratulate others as they move forward and succeed.

2. Seek additional interests.

I experienced a sense of self-inflicted pressure when I first began practicing yoga. A pressure to practice and teach a lot, a self-imposed and misguided belief that more was better and made me more of a yogi.

As I began my practice of letting go of feeling attached to yoga and a sense of dependency, I began to slowly explore other hobbies with friends and family, finding peace and comfort in hiking, painting, singing and serving the local community.

When something is new and exciting, it might be tempting to identify with that new interest. Or perhaps we replace old feelings of heartache and pain with a new label. The key is to remain open. Being a “yogi” is only one percent of who we are. We are also love, light, plasma, muscles, stars and galaxies. Avoid limiting yourself to a role. You are more; you are expansive. Let that expansiveness fuel your life.

A yoga practice is our introduction to mindfulness. It is a defined time and space to pay attention to our body and breath. However, the ultimate goal is to pull this awareness into other activities. I have learned that one is not a yogi because of constantly performing postures; one becomes a yogi when they practice yoga while not performing postures.

Ways to experience yoga off the mat:

>> Volunteer in our local community.
>> Spend time in nature.
>> Sing while cleaning the house.

3. It’s not temporary.

Although I was practicing yoga in the physical sense, I would occasionally find myself speaking poorly of my peers to make myself feel better temporarily. I realized I was harming myself by trying to advance too quickly in my physical practice. I noticed a sense of addiction to exercise and postures.

This behavior created discomfort and discontent, as it was out of line with the universe’s natural rhythm of unconditional love and compassion.

Yoga in the classroom helped to create mindfulness, and I began to become more aware of the truth that there is no ultimate perfection. There is no one way it is supposed to play out. This gave me permission to let go of control. Surrendering allowed me to settle into the present moment.

There, in the present moment, we begin to learn what needs to change in our lives to align us with a sense of greater good. With this awareness, my practice no longer has a beginning or an end; it is continuous.

Yoga does not begin at the start of the drop-in class and end with the closing om. A class or book or workshop or training or recording—these simply demarcate a period of study in addition to living mindfully. They key is to implement yoga in such a way that it becomes a manageable, effortless part of our being.

Ways to integrate our yoga:

>> Do the best we can with pure intentions.
>> Surrender to the natural rhythm of the universe.
>> Smile with love and compassion.

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Author: Ashley Colloton Loescher