Because of the negative news I feel I'm hit with on a regular basis lately, I've been struggling to find peace and acceptance. But like so many situations in life where I've faced challenges and thought I was out of resources, yoga has once again provided the right tools to keep me moving forward.
These three yoga teachings have been particularly helpful as I look to what’s next.
1. Breathe with intention.
Breath is a big part of yoga. Breathing techniques calm the nervous system, reduce stress, help clear the mind, and facilitate resilience and positivity in the face of challenge. Many yoga practices use the breath to create a physical space to let go of thoughts and energy that don’t serve us through the power of the exhale. Anxiety and anger are both emotions whose impact can be reduced by simply breathing with intention. Inhale the energy you want to cultivate, exhale that which does not serve you.
2. Know that we're all one.
It’s basic, but it’s also profound. When we strip away all the labels that we’ve created to describe one another, we find that we are all the same. One of my favorite elements of the practice of yoga is that it teaches us to drop labels. There is no space for judgement or self-judgement in yoga. We drop labels like “inflexible” or “not strong enough” by asking our mind to let go and letting our body perform at its ability without the artificial constraints of the mind. With every new accomplishment on the mat, we witness the lack of meaning in labels.
3. Connect with the good.
If you feel like there is overwhelming evil or negativity in the world, you need yoga. I have yet to walk into a studio and feel negative energy. Good is everywhere, but we have to choose to focus on it. It is a choice, and it’s one we have to continually make and learn from. Surround yourself with love and positivity. The more we find connection through love, the more we spread acceptance and positivity.
It’s not that there’s no work to be done outside of the yoga studio. There will always be work to be done. But the first piece of the puzzle is realizing that we are all connected—that’s how puzzles work! We are in this together. Acceptance is key. Once we find acceptance we can start listening and learning from each other. If that’s the standard we hold our leaders to, we must hold ourselves to that same standard. Let’s find acceptance so we can move forward.