Welcome to National Yoga Month! Yes September is here (how the hell did we get here)??? Yoga has certainly changed my life over the course of the past 10 years and I assume it has had an impact on yours as well if you are reading this right now. The practice is forever changing and evolving just as we are changing and evolving. When I started Bikram Yoga in the summer of 2011, I was addicted to it and wasn't open to any other styles of yoga #brainwashed I thought Bikram Yoga was the only way. Wow was I naïve lol, but that's ok. It got me to here and NOW.
What yoga has taught me over the years is to be open to new experiences in new ways. It has taught me that this magical journey of life begins within, and that self care is so important. Yoga is much more than downward dog, extra chaturangas, and long extended savasanas. It is also walking on the beach, interacting with your partner, and enjoying the little things in life. Below I have listed 5 ways to help take yoga off the mat and out into the world during national yoga month. I hope you enjoy trying them out.
1. Have a lighthearted conversation with someone.
The weight of the world can be heavy sometimes (I mean... it's 2021 right?!). This conversation could be with a friend, a loved one, your partner, or even your dog! Be present and intentional during this interaction just as you show up and set an intention at the beginning of your yoga practice. Cell phones off, TV off, no distractions. A little bit of lightness and humor goes a long way too. I always enjoy making my beautiful wife Sumer laugh and smile about something off the cuff and ridiculous that sparks a conversation. When we are fully present the energy is different and we are able to completely immerse and enjoy each other’s company. Don’t over think it, just have some fun. Laughter is beautiful medicine. Give it a whirl!
2. Take a mindful walk.
Lets call it walking yoga. Just be present to the sensation of your feet grazing the surface. I remember hosting a yoga & mindfulness workshop with Sumer and a student of ours saying to us after a mindful walking exercise that who knew that simply walking barefoot in grass could be so amazing. Well it really can be! Think of it like your favorite yoga flow as you move your feet one breath, one step at a time.
3. Eating with awareness.
“Looking at a tangerine, a person who practices awareness can see all the wonders of the universe…” – The Buddha. I remember reading an excerpt from Thich Nhat Han’s book peace is every step and him referring to this quote. The next time you sit down to have a snack or a meal see if you can become fully present to the moment just like you would tune into your Ujjayi breath before you move into a challenging yoga pose. See if you can fully experience the fragrances from the food the textures, the taste, and your thoughts about it. It may seem strange at first if you’ve never practiced it, but it will certainly flip your perspective (yes like an inversion for all you inversion junkies) on the food your consuming once you try it out.
4. Reach out to a friend or family member that you haven’t talked to in the last 6 months.
Now more than ever humans need humans. Someone out there could use your presence right now. Text them (just do it now so you don’t forget) and check in on them. “Hey I was thinking about you, hope all is well. Would love to catch up and connect with you if you’re free this week” SEND. It’s that easy and will go a long way to someone that may be struggling or feeling lonely during these trying times. This is Yoga. We are showing up for ourselves on the mat so we can show up fully for ourselves and others off the mat.
5. Self Reflection.
Just as you devote time for connecting and honoring your body and mind in your yoga practice. Take some time during this pause that the universe has provided for us to notice how far you’ve come and not just how far you have to go. Connect with your internal strengths (ie I am great at organizing and a little funny) and acknowledge and the abundance that we are blessed with: (ie I'm grateful for my daughters excitement and passion for Riverdale and for getting to listen to her talk about these characters and pretend like I'm not completely lost). One practical way of implementing gratitude in your daily life is to simply commit to writing down 3 things you are grateful for everyday and just as above write down the little things. See how many days in a row you can do it for (yes, you've been challenged) and watch how your perspective goes from lacking to abundance.
While we celebrate national yoga month, celebrate you a little bit too for showing up, for putting in the work, and shining your light.
Move through this month with grace, embrace the changes and challenges that come your way, and know that you are capable of more than you know. Keep showing up on the mat and enjoy these 5 ways to take your yoga off the mat and out into the world.
See you on the mat soon!
Pedro Luna is a south Florida based yoga instructor, lululemon ambassador, podcast host, event host, and international retreat leader. He is also the co-host of YogaFestFL (the largest yoga festival in Florida), and creator of the globally recognized and hilarious Instagram page @yogimemes. Pedro is on a mission to share the gift of yoga with the world, one person at a time.
Check out Pedro's online yoga class schedule HERE.
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