If I could go back and start again…

Thirteen years ago I became a yoga student, and like many of you, the journey has offered me comfort, challenge, confusion and clarity.

There’s been nothing linear about it, but if I could start from scratch today, here’s what I’d do differently…

01. Work in > Work out

The physical poses that we practice today pale in comparison to the depth & richness that the original teachings bring. Why? Because yoga asana was designed to adopt to the times, gain momentum and spread worldwide.

But as yoga rose in popularity, it’s essence began to decline.

If we’re truly after what the whole of yoga can provide, then it’s important to approach the teachings with this work in > work out idea in mind.

Yes, you can (and will) benefit from the physical practice, but yoga’s ultimately concerned with how well you can regulate your mind, reduce your suffering, and realize that you are indeed a manifestation of the divine.

For years, I used the practice as a way to stay in shape & lose weight, and while we all have to start somewhere, eventually it’s my wish that we all use the practice to realize our human conditions, work through them, and experience a glimpse of our human potential during this lifetime.

02. Start with the Basics

So many of us, including myself, didn’t receive the proper teachings to even begin this yoga journey!

My very first yoga practice was a heated intermediate asana class that was overflowing with sweaty people. I had no idea what to do, I could barely see the teacher, I mostly copied my neighbor, and no props were offered.

My story isn’t unique either, because over the years I’ve witnessed this “start without any basic skills” again and again as a teacher.

Instead of setting ourselves up for defeat, it would be so much wiser if we embraced being a beginner. This means signing up for a foundations class, workshop or series, and giving yourself time to learn an entirely new way of moving, breathing and being.

03. Find your Teachers, then find them again.

Each of us are unique beings with different dispositions, which means we’ll naturally be attracted to different teachers & their ways of teaching.

In the beginning it’s best to experiment and explore, but eventually you’ll want to find “your” set of teachers. The people you want to sit beside, trust and learn from.

But if a teacher is doing their job well, at some point you’ll need to expand, which means the pursuit of finding a new yoga teacher will begin again.

The takeaway here is to find your teachers, hold onto the ones that matter, shed & evolve when the time comes, and stay open to the next version that appears.

04. Have a Plan for Progress

A lot of us, myself included, first encounter yoga through asana (the physical poses), not realizing that it’s only one branch within a larger ecosystem.

Many stay stuck here, hopping from one asana class to another, sometimes never even entertaining another style of asana like restorative or yin.

When you study yoga, regardless of the lineage, branch or path (marga), the teachings are always progressive, gradual and systematic. They are not haphazard, random or by chance.

For this reason, at some point, you’ll want a path that clearly outlines your next on & off the mat steps.

05. Trust the Process

When we expand our understanding of yoga, sometimes it can feel like progress isn’t happening.

This can feel especially true as we move away from the grosser components like asana, towards the subtler practices like pranayama or meditation.

Progress requires patience, grace, compassion and shraddha (faithfulness). Faith in yoga’s timeless teachings, faith in your teacher and faith in your journey as a practitioner.

Keep the faith, even when it feels like you’re moving at a snails 🐌 pace.

06. Respect your Life Season

Letting go of how you “should” show up on the mat can be a hard pill to swallow, and it can especially difficult if you depend on the practice as a “work out” source.

But life within us and outside of us is seasonal, which means what served you for many years, may no longer offer the same nutrients or support.

It’s taken me a long time to embrace this, but as my interests, roles and responsibilities continue to change, I’ve had to soften. I used to feel like a fraud if I didn’t practice a version of sweaty, strong asana, but now I’m realizing that yoga has and always will be more than a shape.

07. Practice Satya

Finally, if I had to start from the very beginning, I would lean into satya or what’s most truthful for me.

I wouldn’t follow what’s trendy or cool.

I would evaluate my season, get curious about my current interests, explore what’s out there, and find the teachers & practices that exude the truth I’m after.

Please keep seeking, please keep practicing.

Talk soon,

Allie, xx

Hey! I’m Allie.

I’m a self-growth student, freedom-seeker, yoga teacher and the founder of a tight-knit online yoga community: the Body Mind Soul Studio. I’m here to teach you how to transform your life on-and-off-the-mat with a holistic yoga practice.

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If your practice has waned, if your yoga journey feels lonely or you like the way I share yoga’s teachings, then this is where you need to be. Join me once a month, for free, to practice yoga as a community.