The Things I Have Learned

by tinareale on January 13, 2014

Good morning! How was your weekend? I hope a very delightful one. I enjoyed my second weekend of yoga teacher training this past weekend and I feel like it brought up a lot of reflection. In the past year of doing yoga more regularly, and even more seriously in the past six months, I have learned a few lessons. I woke up with it still on my mind today, so that’s where this post is going to go.

yoga lessons

My body appreciates the kindness. I like challenging workouts. I enjoy pushing myself. However, since starting yoga, I can see how unkind I had really been to my body at times. I could feel the effects of always trying to push harder and accomplish more in my workouts. I guess on some level I thought that was the only way to truly stay fit. Don’t get me wrong. I still love a challenge and the yoga classes I take at my studio are challenging. Often quite challenging. But somehow it’s done from a whole body perspective and place that also leaves me with more energy, instead of less, and without all the physical discomfort I used to have from pushing so hard all the time. I also can’t complain that not only do I feel better, but I feel like I look fitter too. It’s not the point…but won’t lie that it is an added bonus. Ha!

The simplest things can be the hardest…and will always require our utmost attention. The basic poses can be some of the hardest to do. Every single pose has so, so much to consider. Are you internally or externally rotating in the pose? Where are your hips supposed to be pointing? Are you opening through your chest, lifting and strengthening through your thighs/hamstrings, keeping your shoulders down and back? Are you lengthening in the right places and strengthening in the others? So. Much. To. Think. About! Along those same lines, I have learned that even the most basic things in life require that much attention and proper care. Just like you have to establish a firm foundation and understanding of poses, so you must also establish a firm foundation of your basic priorities in life as everything else stems from them.

Believe. You’re stronger than you think. I can’t even tell you how many times an instructor will demonstrate a pose and I immediately think they are crazy. Straight up insane. “You expect me to try what, now?! I don’t think so!” And then, I surprise myself and can do it. Kind of like the first time I took a class at Red Hot Yoga and received some true instruction on crow. I laughed at the thought, yet the pose came, albeit very briefly that first time before I got too into my head and came tumbling down. But I got further than I believed in myself that I could and now crow is no biggie.

This is still an area in which I struggle. Heck, even yesterday as I was told I could get my head on the floor in Prasarita Padottanasana (a wide legged forward fold) and laughed at the prospect. Well, wouldn’t you know what happened. My head touched the mat…and then I got too into my mind again and lost the spinal extension. Like I said, I’m working on it. We have to believe in ourselves, and especially in life. Life is hard. But we can do hard things.

And when it doesn’t happen, give it time. Last week, the 30 day Instagram yoga challenge I’m doing called for a pose called “baby grasshopper”. The pose reminded me of a couple months ago when the full expression of grasshopper was the “goal pose” of quite a few of the yoga classes I attended. Let’s just say I crashed and burned in a non too graceful fashion all of the times I tried the full pose. Then, when doing baby grasshopper for the challenge I thought I would give the full grasshopper pose a try. Just to see. I surprised myself by being able to relatively easily get into the pose and then stay there for a few breaths.

Still room for improvement, but I did it. With time. There will be things that challenge us in life – whether a physical goal we hope to accomplish or a trying situation. If we give it time, things will change for the better. And we will get stronger.

It’s fun to play. We are too hard on ourselves. Myself very much so included. I think yoga has helped me to see that it really isn’t always about achieving, but also about enjoying the process and having fun while learning. Remember all that face planting I talked about above? Rarely did I feel like a dumb ass. More often than not, I laughed at myself and thought it was a blast to be trying something new. I try to take that same humor into life and not being so hard on myself. It doesn’t always work…but it  is getting better. I hope to always play in my practice (currently doing a lot of playing with handstands and forearm balances) and in life (playing with the ideas of some big decisions and changes).

I crave nourishment. I used to have a sweet tooth that would not stop. Now, I crave sugar much, much less and feel the effects of unhealthier foods on my body so much more than I ever did. I also feel more in tune with my appetite than I ever have. I rarely seek food when stressed or emotional for any reason anymore and I honestly crave nourishing, whole foods more than I ever have before.

I sleep like a rock. I used to have trouble falling asleep and would tend to wake up easily, sometimes struggling to fall back asleep. Since doing more yoga, I fall asleep easier and sleep hard. Sometimes even too hard, since there have been plenty of times the kids wake up and I sleep right on through it leaving Peter to take the brunt of the nighttime wake-up calls. Whoops.

Be present. One of the whole purposes of practice is to let it all go and to be in the moment when you’re on your mat. In time, you take that lesson to life and work towards being present in each moment. I will say that I have seen that come to play in how I interact with my kids and having greater attention for the task at hand. It’s nice being a little more productive and aware.

It’s about love. I posted this just now on Facebook because it was really on my heart.


The teachings we discuss on yoga philosophy all tie in so closely to what I already currently believe…and it only confirms to me even more that it all comes down to love.

There are really so many other things I have learned that I couldn’t even begin to express fully in one post. And I look forward to the many things I know I will continue to learn. Namaste.

What’s a lesson you have learned from doing yoga…or any other workout for that matter?


1 Erica { } January 13, 2014 at 7:08 am

Well, you’ve just convinced me I need to get my butt back into yoga asap! For a few weeks last year I was going regularly and enjoyed all of the benefits you just described. Life got in the way (or I let it at least) and I haven’t been in a year. Definitely need to change that!

2 Carla January 13, 2014 at 7:19 am

the hardest for me is STILL when it doesnt happen give it time…

3 Fancy Nancy January 13, 2014 at 7:41 am

Being in the moment…such an important lesson!! I don’t do yoga but this is something I have been striving to learn lately!

4 Coco (@Got2Run4Me) January 13, 2014 at 7:43 am

Great lessons! I also often have that “are you kidding me reaction” and usually do manage to laugh at my face plants. Yoga really does emphasize the process — the PRACTICE — and that’s a nice balance to running where I tend to focus on the destination.

5 Danica @ It's Progression January 13, 2014 at 8:28 am

I’m really interested that your sugar cravings are reduced so much! That’s my biggest struggle with my diet and most common craving…maybe I should practice yoga more often and see if that helps! Thanks for sharing these!

6 Jolene January 13, 2014 at 8:34 am

This might be one of my favorite posts from you lately! I felt (and still feel) the same way about barre classes and what I have learned from doing them AND teaching them. I completely know what you mean about the difference in this vs intense cardio workouts etc, stuff that really takes a toll on your body and this type of workout where you just feel WORKED and so amazing after. and I feel and look fitter too, and it really is all about leaning and toning and that mind body connection that you can’t always achieve when you are just trying to breathe (likkke doing a burpee lol, hate those!) for example. I think the small movements, the tweaks to adjust form, it all ties back to being present and being focused and working hard, mind and body together. awesome post friend!

7 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More January 13, 2014 at 8:46 am

LOVE it!! I am definitely one of those people who crave nourishment as well. When I have sugary foods now, it sends me into a craze of “MUST HAVE ALL THE SUGAR!” and then it’s immediately followed by “GIVE ME ALL THE GREENS!”

8 Kim January 13, 2014 at 9:02 am

I’ve never been to a yoga class but have done some DVDs and there are moves in them that I always say (out loud) – no way!!! Maybe a class would be good for me because then an instructor could actually help me!!

9 Lindsay @ Lindsay's List January 13, 2014 at 9:27 am

it seriously makes me SO happy that you’ve found this thing that makes you so happy!! I want to take one of your classes whenever that time comes!!!

10 Fiona @ Get Fit Fiona January 13, 2014 at 10:02 am

Yoga teaches me that I can always do more than I thought I could – whether that’s going deeper into a pose or trying something new and succeding at it the first time.

11 Megan (The Lyons' Share) January 13, 2014 at 11:22 am

What great thoughts (and you look amazing in baby grasshopper – so impressive!). Although I don’t do yoga as frequently as I’d like (I try for once a week, even if it’s just a practice in my home), yoga always teaches me that it’s so hard for my mind to be still. I consider running a great stress release, but even while running my mind can be racing 100 different directions. With yoga, it’s such a challenge for me to shut it off, but it’s worth it!

12 Laura @ Mommy Run Fast January 13, 2014 at 11:28 am

This is a fantastic post! I can relate to so much of what you said. My body appreciates kindness, too… backing off the last two months was a really nice change of pace, and it’s so interesting to see how cravings diminish alongside less intensity workouts for me. And look at your poses- so awesome!!

13 Heather @ Better With Veggies January 13, 2014 at 11:41 am

What a great introspective view into your yoga practice. I have been seriously lacking in the yoga area and I’m not in a place where I can add it to my schedule regularly yet, but I really do miss it!

14 Jay @ Supersonic Sunflower January 13, 2014 at 11:44 am

Great post!! I am always saying that I am going to start practicing yoga everyday but I continue fail. Your post has really motivated me to really get back into it! Thank you!

15 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats January 13, 2014 at 11:58 am

Ah you make me want to practice yoga regularly! My biggest hurtles are: 1) the yoga studios that I love are over a mile walk away (no good way to get there by bus) and very expensive and 2) I’ve tried doing it at home but it’s just not the same! I don’t have the same motivation (I get so impatient) and I thrive in the class setting for yoga. Hopefully I’ll figure out a way to get past these barriers sometime this year. Honestly, yoga is so hard and intimidates me but that’s why I want to do it!

16 Sarah [My Full Home] January 13, 2014 at 5:22 pm

What an insightful post! I wish I had time to practice yoga more. I haven’t really ever found a dvd that I like and now that I stay at home with our daughter and my husband is a teacher, it just doesn’t really fit into our budget to go and practice at a gym or a studio. I used to and I absolutely loved it!!

17 Angela @ Happy Fit Mama January 13, 2014 at 8:41 pm

I’ve got yoga on the mind today too! While I love, love, love running, yoga has a deep and special place in my heart. You would think there’s no possible way I could love both but they both nourish my body, mind and soul. Great post Tina!

18 Angie Bee Hotz January 13, 2014 at 9:34 pm

I love this! I have found so many of those to be true in my journey as well!
I hope to someday do teacher training too!

19 Kate @KateMovingForward January 13, 2014 at 11:51 pm

Someone once told me they thought yoga was boring and I couldn’t believe it–it’s so physically, emotionally, and mentally stimulating for me. One thing Yoga has taught me is to “notice” things–not necessarily judge, change, or celebrate–but to just be aware of what is going on in and around me.

20 Dominique @ Eat, Pray, Lift January 14, 2014 at 6:41 pm

Oh Tina, I just love this! I have felt a need to start practicing yoga more regularly [read: "at all"], especially as my body is starting to respond to the past several years of harsh workouts and limited recovery. The thought of being able to enjoy a workout that is both challenging and playful and energizing [as opposed to draining] is something I want to make a reality, as foreign as it may sound right now.

Thank you for sharing so openly, and be prepared for an onslaught of questions as I start getting into a regular practice! :)

21 tinareale January 15, 2014 at 10:15 am

No matter what, I’ll be happy to help!

22 Christine @ Love, Life, Surf January 20, 2014 at 9:37 am

How did I miss this post last week? Love this Tina and all the lessons. There are so many lessons. I had to chuckle when you were going through all the different alignment cues because there is so much to think about! I’m constantly adjusting and microadjusting in a pose. And it is about love. Absolutely.

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: