Last April, I started a yoga teacher training program at my studio, Love Yoga. And so began my love affair with yoga.The training proved to be surprisingly transformative for me in so many ways, and yoga turned out to be a real game changer in my life.
I always knew that yoga was more than simply going through the postures, more than just another physical workout. I knew that yoga also had to do with breath, being conscious of your breath and linking breath with movement. What I didn’t realize is how much yoga happens OFF my mat and outside of the yoga studio. Yoga is a way of living. It’s about how I interact with myself, my family, my friends, strangers and the community as a whole. Yoga is about finding a space of calm, strength and focus within myself, allowing me to listen to my intuition and my heart, and taking action from that inner strength and intuition. Yoga is about being fully present in the moment and living with acceptance, respect and honesty toward oneself and others. And yoga is a PRACTICE. Every damn day I practice living my yoga off my mat. Some days are better than others, and my family can attest to that. But they can also attest to the fact that I am happier and more at peace — physically, emotionally, mentally — than I have ever been in my life.
As I’ve been diving head first into my yoga practice and yoga teaching, I’ve discovered other helpful personal development tools that so many people do: I meditate. I read a book of daily meditations. I write in a journal. Every night I write down something from the day for which I am grateful. I’ve become much more mindful with my eating in that I’ve decreased the amount of dairy, meat and bread products I consume, because I discovered that too much of those foods makes my body feel heavy and tired. I’ve learned to listen to my body, acknowledging and honoring how it feels physically from day-t0-day as I participate in different activities. From that awareness, I discovered that my body feels best when I don’t run as much as I’ve been running in the past. Finally, I read what many people might refer to as “self-help” books. As I scan my bookshelf, these are the titles I see: Being of Power, Journey Into Power, 40 Days to Personal Revolution, Living Your Yoga, Three Simple Steps, Journey to the Heart, Optimal Health for a Vibrant Life, Crazy Sexy Diet, The Heart of Yoga, Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness, Wherever You Go, There You Are, Start Where You Are.
Very recently, I discovered Brene Brown and I’m currently reading her book called Daring Greatly. Her research and writing are completely hitting the spot for me right now, so much so that I signed up for her 6-week e-course called The Gifts of Imperfection. Through reading and interactive art journal explorations, Brene Brown will guide me from the thinking of “What will people think?” to “I’m imperfect and I’m enough.” Despite having very little arts/crafts skills, I’m super excited to start this e-course. I think it will be a very fun process of self-discovery and empowerment, and these days, I’m all about continually improving myself.
So that’s what I’ve been up to during much of 2013, and I look forward to what 2014 will offer. I’ll continue to practice my meditation, my mindfulness…my yoga. I’ll read my self-help books and do journal explorations. I’ll continue to eat less dairy and meat and strive for a more plant based diet. I’ll move my body in ways that make me feel refreshed, energized, strong and calm. And I’ll continue to work on living and loving fully, in the moment, with courage. All of this has helped me become a happier and more loving mom, wife and friend, and I’ve become more comfortable and confident with who I am. By no means am I saying I’m perfect … But I am a better version of myself. It’s like I got an update…Maggie v. 2.0, just when the system was starting to feel a bit stuck. I’m still a work in progress, and always finding ways I can improve and grow.
And for the record, even though I’ve been making these slight changes in behavior and thinking, I haven’t changed all that much — I still love a good cheeseburger and fries. I drink wine. I lose my shit in front of my kids. I love trail running. I love watching football. And I love to drop the F-bomb, especially when watching football. Like tonight…because the Seahawks are going to the f’ing Superbowl!!!! F— Yeah!