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Yoga: off the mat.

Updated: Nov 5, 2019

What first led me to Yoga was injury and back pain. So my first thought of Yoga was it was good for stretching out muscles. I began going to yoga and found it was relieving a bit of pain but I couldn’t get past how it made me feel so much more clearer after each class. I was only going on and off for the past 3 years but made a commitment to at least one class a week since February. I really had no idea what it was that had me leaving the studio with so much clarity and calmness but I didn’t question it either.

My fiance started commenting how he really noticed the days I went to Yoga and that I seemed happier and I will never forget the day he told me that because I went to bed thinking, “well what do I look like on the other days?”.

There was something about living happier that just stuck with me and so I began wondering what it was that was making me look and feeling “happy”. I didn’t go back to Yoga for the physical components, what bought me back to the mat every week was definitely for the Mental awareness and well-being changes.

Starting the course I felt so out of my comfort zone and wondered if quitting my job was the right decision. The doubt didn't last long, on day one hearing everyone's stories I knew that I was exactly where I was meant to be- in a weird way I really felt like I belonged amongst these strangers. Even though our stories were different our purpose was the same – to become better versions of ourselves and find out what it was about Yoga that left us feeling like we could better operate in the world. It was really overwhelming for me at first to have to get quiet with my mind and really go inside myself to check in with how I was truly feeling in certain moments. It is the first time it was really clear to me that a lot of my state was in a place of fear and self-doubt.

Growing up in a big family I was always In a full house. It really made me get into a habit of being a listener with so many people. People can always assume that growing up in a big family that you must be an extroverted person so It’s funny to come to realise that I’m actually more of an introvert. I found that being surrounded by people made me really enjoy and embrace being alone with my own company.

This was my first realisation of “unbecoming every thing you are not, and more of who you truly are”. Having a big family you connect with so many people it is hard to not become an empathetic person. Carrying so many people’s stories can be tough but there is also beauty in knowing there are so many people who help you to carry all your shit too.

A big realisation for me to learn was learning to be empathetic but more importantly also knowing when to leave what is, at the door and check in with my own feelings rather than carrying how other people feel. To learn to listen to understand rather than listen to fix. Carrying other peoples feelings can turn into decisions being made on the terms of other people regardless of what it meant for me. I always thought it was such a beautiful trait to be selfless but I realise now being selfless means being selfish sometimes and the real beauty is doing what is right for yourself so you can better show up for those around you.

A big obstacle in this course was showing up fully and showing up on time. I am late to everything and unfortunately am known for it to the point my fiance tells me half an hour earlier than the actual time, knowing I will be late. Rachel (one of our Yoga teachers) said on the first day “If this is going to be hard for you to be on time- look at what it is that will make this not possible and get it sorted. Find the value in time and especially the time of others. Who are you to think your time is more valuable than another?".

That question stuck with me. I went home that first day and got everything that I knew would make me late on a list and ticked it off- did my food prep, filled water bottle, prepacked my bag, organised my outfit, filled my kettle and put my coffee cup next to it ready to go. I did this for the whole month of the course it even made a difference on the weekends I had coffee with a friend and I was 5 minutes early and she almost fell off her chair when she saw me. I scrapped my car knowing that Sydney roads stress me out and caught an early train everyday- It felt so weird rocking up to the studio with 15 minutes to spare I didn’t know what to do with myself on the first few days. It was so rewarding for my self-esteem though, just really showing up and making an effort to show up not just for myself but for my class was empowering.

By doing this, it showed me how much of an influence my environment is for me. A big thing for me has been wanting to move out of Sydney to a more slow pace place. Oktay and I have put it off for such a long time because the reality seems scary and uncomfortable- being away from family, friends and places we’ve grown up in since we were little. The growth from changing environment though can only compliment your life if you’ve committed to the work on the inside. I know for sure if I had moved 2 years ago, the new environment wouldn’t have changed anything long term because I wasn’t ready. I would have taken all my shit and given it a new post code.

We've finally decided we‘re in a place now where our decision to move isn’t just about “living near a beach”- it’s about our wellbeing, our relationship, our goals and our one day family.

A saying that I heard many times before but never really understood it until the second week of our course was “what shows up for you on the mat, usually shows up in your every day life”. WOW- what an incredible take away this was for me. Just starting to check in to my feelings and thoughts during my Yoga practice is how I came to see a lot of fear was being carried within me. I found that I was reluctant to trying new poses unless I saw someone else doing it first, I would shy away from discomfort in poses because of fear of injury or I wouldn’t try new poses because of fear of not being as good as the person next to me or fear of falling on face.

I actually tried crow pose one day when usually I wouldn’t and I managed to get my feet off the ground and balanced for a good few seconds- this was so empowering for me. Being uncomfortable for a few seconds and giving something new a good go gave me a lifetime lesson to how important it is to control my thoughts and not let it control me.

It has been a challenge for me to look internally at myself and why certain things trigger me or why I make certain choices. Yoga has made me so self aware which has been a really surprising adventure for me in terms of giving me clarity on things I thought I was 100% about and then it has made me certain about things I was on the fence about. One major thing for me in my relationship was not feeling ready to have children- really getting clear about why I felt like that has been such a gift. Figuring out that the deeper root wasn't anything to do with being a mum but rather not feeling good enough and projecting my fears onto another little human.

I think sometimes our biggest fears can overshadow the most beautiful parts of life. Yoga really allows me to take on my fears, understand them and let them go. Perception is everything in life, no matter your situation. Children see what you teach them to see, fear what you teach them to fear and love how you show them love. To receive more, I have to open my hands to let go of my fears and insecurities so I can be open and ready to receive whatever is meant for me when my time to be a parent comes.

As I am writing this I can’t help but laugh because I think back to my definition of yoga being “Stretching muscles and feeling good after”, to now re-reading this reflection about everything Yoga has bought me is all the parts of my life off the mat. It’s been such an incredible growth experience for myself and I think the most beautiful part for me is the ripple effect facing my own obstacles/challenges and showing up for myself can then trickle into every other relationship in my life. As I embrace some personal changes, this course could not have come at a better time in my life- the lessons I was ready to learn will be something I carry in to my relationships- to connect, to grow and to shine a light on my fears and insecurities rather than shoving them down in to my hips (literally- but that will be another blog). As I heard through the entire course, Yoga is a never ending journey of self-learning and it is so true. I feel like I am really only skimming the surface and am so intrigued to see what the journey continues to bring for me.

If this has connected with you leave me a message or follow my journey at @coconutyogi_ on Instagram.


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