What Yoga is Teaching me


  1. Presence: Follow the Butterflies

“Problems can’t exist within the present moment” – Echart Tolle

Our attention goes where our focus are. If you know me for the last 5 to 7 years you might not believe that I once had a considerable amount of negativity I was carrying around with me. 

A kind trainer / coach made the suggestion to me to “follow the butterflies” 

This was enough to trigger my curiosity. Soon after the suggestion was made I started noticing a lot of butterflies in my immediate environment. 

Upon further reflection I began to understand the importance of how thoughts and focus influence the quality of our lives. If we focus on butterflies, that is what we will attract. Conversely so, focusing on negative aspects or things that is out of our control, it perpetuates the same feeling of frustration and not being able to change the situation.

On the yoga matt you must stay present in order to be able to perform the asanas. You stay present through connecting to your breath. I believe that is partly why yoga became such an enlightening experience to me. Rarely do we experience such a sense of presence in our daily lives. Truly an experience to treasure and try replicating in our daily lives.

I believe the way to achieve that off the yoga matt is to connect to our breathing. Breathing transcends us back to the present moment. It also allows us to make more calculated decisions in terms of how we would like to respond to life’s challenges. 

  1. Consciousness

The moment I step onto the yoga matt I become more aware of my body, as well as my mental state. As an enneagram (https://www.wepss.com) type 7 I find it hard to connect to my own feelings. It’s much more comfortable to connect to my thoughts (Head vs Heart).

Therefore, YOGA provides a unique experience to me for reconnecting my body, mind and spirit. 

Being more connected with my own thoughts and feelings also helps me off the matt to be more congruent in how I behave. I am able to respond more authentically to problems, questions, challenges. It becomes easier to express how or what I really feel like about certain matters. 

  1. Emotional Management

I have always been a bottler. It was the example I grew up within our Anglo Saxon community in South Africa. I actually believed that not having outbursts was demonstrating emotional management. Little did I realise the impact of this on relationships. (http://www.susandavid.com/new-index/)

When I am on the yoga matt I often experience an unlocking / release of emotions which was most likely bottled up until that stage. I believe asanas, pranayama and kris help us release some emotions that no longer serve us. By doing so we are restoring energy so that we can move forward in life feeling fully recharged.

  1. Resilience: comfort through discomfort and self efficacy

If I’m totally honest, yoga practice could sometimes be challenging whether it’s holding a pose for an extended period or trying to balance in precarious positions. Yoga’s unique challenges on the matt, however discomforting, has helped me to face stressful, compromising positions in real life with a different attitude. Yoga has made me more resilient and able to follow through with ordinary challenges I face off the matt. 

  1. Connection

By connection to myself on the yoga matt, I have inadvertently realised how intimately everything is connected. I believe there is a real spiritual connection between all living and non-living objects on the earth plane. To realise our sense of connection we truly need to connect to ourselves first. 

  1. Trust

Yoga has truly increased my level of TRUST, both towards myself and especially being able to make myself vulnerable, by following instructions while practicing yoga. I believe I have a deeper sense of trust in the universe and knowing that everything is exactly as it should be. And that following the instructions, and accepting my current circumstances, will lead me exactly down the path of where I should be. Through my current experiences I will also be ready for the next steps that needs to be taken. A slow but purposeful build up to a magnificent “pose”

  1. Acceptance

Even if it’s just half an hour a day, the time I am spending on my yoga matt teaches me to accept my current circumstances. I believe that comes through presence. I have always had a hard time to accept things as they are. I believe it’s just that little thing called being HUMAN. 

  1. Forgiveness

I mainly refer to forgiving myself for not always being able to perform certain postures. Off the yoga matt that also helps me to forgive others for their imperfections by connecting with my own (empathy)

  1. The gifts of imperfection: Vulnerability

Sometimes, especially in intermediate classes, we are challenged with certain poses, balances that we may not be able to achieve (Crow, Crane, head stands, etc). This makes you feel vulnerable and lacking. For me personally it has provided a unique opportunity to identify with the gifts of imperfection. (https://www.newheightscoach.com/uploads/7/6/9/8/76986173/the_gifts_of_imperfection_by_brene_brown.pdf

We all have our own imperfections. The reward is in recognising them, exposing them under the spotlight, and accepting them. There is no PERFECT. The true beauty in life lies in it’s imperfections. 

  1. Self Love and Self Compassion 

You can probably understand why I left the best for last. Yoga has been a very important mirror for reflecting the principles of self love and self compassion back to me as the BEST and most trustworthy companions as part of our human experience. 

Whenever I am over-exerting myself on the yoga matt, I immediately remember that THAT is exactly the opposite of what yoga is about.

Yoga teach us to be self aware, self conscious, listening to our own body and gently increasing our own strength, flexibility and balance as we progress with our experience.

Through connecting and aligning body, mind and spirt I find the best parts of me, which sometimes remain hidden in the busy world which occurs off the yoga matt.

I carry this peace of mind and gentle understanding of myself into the real world in an effort to communicate more authentically.

In Conclusion : 

I believe yoga is a very personalised experience for each of us. I am sure that many more benefits and teachings could be added to the list…

Karin Schoombee – YTT200hrs March 2018


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