Yoga holds the power to impact our lives in so many ways, ways you never imagined. It’s power began to transform my life over 7 years ago. Here are four ways in which yoga changed my life.
It’s no secret that I can be a very impatient person. Raised in Los Angeles, where people are always on the move and pushing to get what they want when they want it, I was definitely a product of my environment. The first day I got on the mat I had the notion that yoga would be easy, after all it was just holding poses. I was wrong, very wrong. I had to accept that my feet weren’t going to be flat in downward dog on day one, I’d have to work up to it.
This new found virtue quickly leaked off the mat and into my daily life. I began to become aware of when I was being impatient, when I was being pushy and demanding, especially towards myself and others. There would be days I’d be irritated I hadn’t lost more weight, or irritated with people in traffic, and then one day it hit me, I stepped back and asked myself why? Just like that chaturanga I couldn’t do, I had to be patient and enjoy the moment. Enjoying the moment led to the next thing I learned...
In the beginning of my practice my mind was always racing with thoughts like “Should I look like this in this pose?” “That girl has a better body, why can’t I be that thin?” “What am I going to eat after class?” It was constant. It was annoying. I was so worried about everything else around me, I wasn’t really enjoying yoga. I’m not going to lie, this went on for about six months. As I left class one day I noticed those questions and thoughts were no longer there. The more I practiced, the more I enjoyed this new found awareness, enjoying every breath and every movement. After this, I was eager to practice outside of class. Being present meant a much quieter mind, which meant less negative thoughts to listen to. Guess what this lead to?
After learning to be present in yoga I began to notice I wasn’t saying negative things to myself. When I first started yoga I was about 90 pounds heavier than I am today. At the beginning, looking at myself in mirrors was painful. At the end of class I’d be so angry at myself for looking so unattractive. I was straight up mean to myself. Over time, those mean feelings changed. I felt proud of myself for committing to do something kind for my mind and body, this lead to wanting to practice kindness beyond the mat. At home I began to make better food choices, I no longer wanted to poison my body with junk. Guess what this lead to? That’s right, weight loss. Kindness had a domino effect of goodness in my life. The mean girl in the mirror was slowly disappearing and being replaced with someone I loved, and I wasn’t stopping there.
“Nothing outside of you has changed. And yet, paradoxically, you have not changed, but rather have become what you already are.”
Yoga taught me to let go. You know when an instructor says “let go of what isn’t serving you”? Try it, it really works. When I let go, I was able to see who I was. I left my secured Hollywood union job, the one with full medical and dental, the one everyone said I was crazy to leave, to become a full time student in pursue of becoming a Registered Dietician and maybe even become a certified yoga instructor.
After seven years of practice, there’s no doubt yoga is still changing my life, changes that are happy and fulfilling.
Written By: Brenda Haua
Lover of all things health, including food and yoga, Brenda Haua first discovered her passion for health on her yoga mat in 2008. After losing over 90lbs in her health journey, she has dedicated her life to becoming a health advocate of clean eating, and healthy living. When she isn’t writing, updating her blog eatwhatiwant.com, or in school studying nutrition, she prefers to spend time with her loved ones, and working on hobbies that include crocheting scarves, cooking, and working out.
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