A good yoga class has the power to transform your day long after the final Savasana. So, we asked yogis what lessons they’ve learned on the mat and embraced in their everyday life.
1. ‘I’ve embraced the power of breath.’
Lisa Wood was one of many people to say yoga teaches her how and why to breath. “When I feel anxious or worried I concentrate on my breath and it helps me to focus and become much calmer,” she said.
Hannah Gray agreed. “We don’t utilise the calming power a deep breath can have in day to day life, so it’s nice to be reminded of it in yoga,” she said.
2. ‘I’ve learned to accept where I’m at.’
Will Aylward described himself as “short and stocky”, adding that he’s “more of a rugby player build than your traditional slender and flexible yogi!”
“I’ve learned to accept where I am in any given pose and not judge myself,” he said. “This helps me in real life to simply accept where I am right now, helpful in moments when I feel impatient or resistant to what is happening.”
At the same time, he’s learned change is possible – that we are not fixed in our current state. “My body has become stronger and more flexible through regular practice. I believe this is also true for who we are in life in general, we can always make a change, grow and evolve,” he said.
3. ‘I’ve changed my perception of my body.’
Lee Brooks had tried “every type of exercise going” when she finally committed to one year of daily yoga. She’s now smashed her goal and has practised for more than 500 days in a row.
“It’s changed my perception of my body,” she said. “As I continued my yoga journey past the one-year mark, I was getting stronger, and I was getting into poses I never thought I would have been able to do. This changed something in me. I realised I’d grown to respect my body. It’s bloody amazing! From this, I’ve started treating my body better – fuelling it with the right foods, giving it a rest when it needs it. I feel more in tune with myself now than ever before.”
4. ‘I’m kinder to myself.’
Maria Eilersen attended her first yoga class with her late mother 10 years ago and says classes have been “a source of healing and personal growth” ever since.
“The first ‘commandment’ of yoga philosophy is ‘ahimsa’, meaning do no harm, and that’s had a huge impact on my wellbeing, teaching me to witness my negative self talk and respond with compassion, and also translates to my interactions with others,” she says.
“Yoga has also taught me to observe my thoughts and emotions, without labelling them as either good or bad, but accepting their presence.”
She likes to practise and teach dynamic sequences, which confront you with your own ego, “giving you ample opportunity to observe your ‘self talk’ and respond to yourself with kindness”.
5. ‘It’s taught me good posture.’
Like many of us, Rosie Tate spends her working day sitting at a computer, but says yoga has helped counteract that sedentary lifestyle.
“I’m so much more aware of my posture and I try not to be hunched over my screen all day,” she said. “Regular yoga classes have also made me addicted to regular movement, so I now take the time during my working day to regularly get up, go for a walk, and do a few stretches. I encourage my colleagues to do the same and we sometimes go to lunchtime classes together.”
6. ‘I’ve improved my focus.’
Kamala Bryant said yoga helps her to find focus and balance during a busy day working in PR, which can be “very demanding socially and fast-paced”.
“Yoga gives me an opportunity to take a moment for myself to reflect, recharge and process. Another thing it helps me with is my concentration and awareness. Growing up I have always been a bit of a scatterbrain and my job requires me to be extremely organised and on the ball. Yoga has taught to be mindful in my actions, which really helps me stay on top of things.”
Still on the fence about joining your first class? People on Twitter shared these additional lessons from the mat: