10 things I learned from my yoga teacher.

10 Life Lessons I Learned From My Yoga Teacher, That I Couldn't Get Anywhere Else

Come as you are - there is so much magic ahead of you.

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Yoga is a practice that externally appears to be primarily physical. Once the student commits, they often find there is a far greater reward in emotional and mental transformation, along with an increased sense of relaxation, reduction in chronic pain, and other physical benefits to the body. While yoga can do so much good for the body, it truly can also transform the person. I have often heard teachers say, "It's not about the pose - it's about what the pose shows you about yourself."

I completed my 300-hour yoga teacher training last year where I spent 6 months assisting and practicing under my mentor at Yogaworks, Beth Prandini. Over these 6 months, I learned more about the technicalities of teaching yoga such as sequencing, adjusting, speaking with clear instruction, but I also learned more about my path in life than I have ever before. For the first time I felt what it means to have someone who is in your corner 100%, and unconditionally supports you. I went back and forth on my final project idea, probably about 10 times, and was dealing with injuries and the pressure of school during the training. There were times I was under a cloud of self-doubt and insecurity, and felt like I was losing my way. The number one lesson yoga has taught me is that there is no such thing as losing your way. You always re-connect and remind yourself of what it is that you've forgotten, not what you've lost.

1. Stay open to the possibilities ahead

When you go to your first yoga class, you will likely not be able to master every single pose - and that's perfect! You may feel the drive to compare yourself to other people in class, but know that you are in your process, just as they are. In life, we all have a path ahead of us full of opportunities and possibilities. There is so much magic and light ahead of you.

2. Allow all parts of yourself to show up

No matter how messy or ugly you think those hidden parts of you are - they are a part of you, and they are inherently worthy of being integrated into your true Self. We think we need to hide our anger, our sadness, our neediness, but these things make us human. And it's important to remind ourselves that these emotions and feelings are valid and just as important to truly feel into, as is peace, happiness, and love.

3. Release judgment of yourself

Releasing judgment has always been so difficult for me. One of my biggest struggles in life is that I'm so hard on myself - and often feel that doing so is simply me holding myself accountable. But you can release judgment while still challenging yourself and doing hard things. Self-judging is the ego talking. Take a beginner's mind to everything you do and be present in every moment. You won't even have time to judge.

4. Allow yourself to surrender

In a religious sense, this could be surrender to God, Higher Power, Universe, etc. In a more secular way, this could be asking for help, relying on your friends and family to support you, and accepting that there are things in life you cannot control 100% of the time.

5. Open your heart, but have your own back

A lot of yogis think of backbends as the ultimate heart-opening postures, to promote compassion for self and others. But we sometimes forget how important it is to strengthen the back of the heart. Find the balance between opening your heart while protecting it - hold your strong boundaries, but don't let them stop you from sharing love.

6. Find safety in your body and environment

Yoga teachers often incorporate the chakra system into the practice. The root chakra is the base chakra that is associated with feelings of safety, being grounded, and finding strength. Practicing strength-building standing poses that build and challenge your balance truly help you stand on your own two feet.

7. Self-care is a lifestyle 

Slowing down, releasing control, and finding stillness is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself. We live in such a fast-paced world, and authentic self-care is essential to all aspects of our health.

8. Strive for self-awareness and self-knowledge

Even when you're injured and can't "practice" yoga - you can still practice self-inquiry. Dive deeper into your self-inquiry (Sanskrit: svadhyaya) practices even as your physical practice changes. Yoga is ultimately about your relationship to and with yourself - the most important relationship you'll ever have.

9. Find your community

As a self-proclaimed "lone wolf" I have benefitted incredibly from the community and family teaching yoga has given me. When you enter into a mentorship training, everyone holds each other up. Release your shame in needing other people. Find your community where you are seen, heard, and received.

10. You are on your own path

We all have our own path, and no one's will look alike. We are all finding our personal calling. In the yoga world, there is so much judgment about whether or not "modernized" yoga is "true" yoga, as if you can only be doing yoga if you renounce all worldly pleasures and devote your life to meditation. And if you do, there is nothing wrong with that, too! As Beth once reminded me, "There are many ways up the mountain." We're all getting to the same place - even when we're all on our own journey.

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A list Of 15 Inspiring Words That Mean So Much

A single word can mean a lot.
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Positivity is so important in life. A lot of times we always go to quotes for empowerment but I have realized that just one word can be just as powerful. Here is a list of inspiring words.

1. Worthy

Realizing your self-worth is important. Self-worth can really make or break a persons personality. Always know that you are worthy of respect. And also, never compare yourself to others.

2. Courage

Be courageous in life. Life has so many opportunities so do not be scared to grasp any opportunity that comes your way. You have the ability to do anything you have your heart and mind set to do, even the things that frighten you.

3. Enough

When you are feeling down and feeling that nothing you do is ever good enough, know that you are more than enough. And yes there is always room for improvement but when it comes to my self-worth I always have to remind myself that I am enough.

4. Blessed

Be thankful. A lot of times we forget how blessed we are. We focus so much on stress and the bad things that are going on in our lives that we tend to forget all of the beautiful things we have in life.

5. Focus

Focus on your goals, focus on positive things, and focus on the ones you love. Do not focus on things that will keep you from not reaching your goals and people that do not have good intentions for your life.

6. Laugh

Laughing is one of the best forms of medicine. Life is truly better with laughter.

7. Warrior

Through the good and the bad you are a warrior. Be strong, soldier.

8. Seek

Seek new things. Allow yourself to grow in life. Do not just be stuck.

9. Faith

During the bad times, no matter the circumstances, have faith that everything will be all right.

10. Live

Start living because life is honestly way too short. Live life the way you want to live. Do not let anyone try to control you.

11. Enjoy

Enjoy everything that life has to offer. Enjoy even the littlest of things because, as I said before, life is short. And plus, there is no time to live life with regrets.

12. Believe

Believe in yourself and never stop. Believing in yourself brings so many blessings and opportunities in your life.

13. Serendipity

A lot of times we look for things to fill an empty void that we have. Usually what we are looking for comes when we are not looking at all. Your serendipity will come.

14. Create

Share your ideas with the world. Creativity brings change to your life. However you chose to use your creativity do not be scared to show your intelligence, talent, and passion.

15. Love

The world is already full of so much hate, so love unconditionally with all your heart.

Cover Image Credit: Tanveer Naseer

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I Struggle With Cystic Acne, But I Am No Longer Letting It Define How I Live My Life

Acne is a common struggle for a lot of people, but don't let it be how you define yourself.

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You only get one face and that's it. Your face is how others identify you, recognize you, and ultimately know you. Faces can bring back memories, good and bad. Faces have the power to inspire millions, express some of life's most difficult emotions, and show the joy that is so contagious it influences others.

What do you do when that canvas has been tainted? When the one thing that most people know you by, is the last thing you want them to know you by? Struggling with acne feels like a never-ending battle and it's so easy to want to give up and let it take over your thoughts and emotions. I have been wrestling with this sense of defeat for a few years and I don't think I'm the only one feeling this way.

Cystic acne is defined by Medical News Today as, "a severe type of acne in which the pores in the skin become blocked, leading to infection and inflammation."

I have determined that my cystic acne is caused by an imbalance in my hormones. Which makes it extra prominent during "that time of the month." It wasn't always this way; back in high school, I had small breakouts here and there. Unlike today it was nothing that made me want to skip class. Gradually my acne got worse and I didn't know why.

As I went through my college career I would have weeks where I would break out and then my skin would start looking better; only for it to break out again a week later. I am sure we all know the feeling of finally seeing a good skin day, then waking up to a huge zit forming on your chin. Nothing humbles you more than acne can. Wearing a cute outfit? Having a good hair day? That's nice, I bet it'll match well with a huge pimple as an accessory. *dramatic sobs*

Then I met my boyfriend, and if you are in a relationship and struggle with acne I am sure you know where I'm going. No matter how many times he says, "babe, you look gorgeous even without makeup" I still won't believe him. See here sweetie, either you're blind (which he's not he has impeccable vision, damn him) or you're lying because you can clearly see all the scars and pimples ALL OVER MY FACE. But thanks honey for trying to make me feel better! :)

I've come to realize this post is mainly a long list of me complaining about the struggles of having acne. But I know there is someone reading this that is hopefully saying to themselves, "Oh thank God I am not alone!" I have gotten to a point where I still don't know the best way to deal with my breakouts, but why should I let it steal my joy? Why should I let my acne cause me shame and discomfort when I know myself I am working to improve it.

In this season of my life, I want to learn to not hold myself back from being who I truly am just because I have acne. Yes, some days are REALLY hard and I can't even leave my room because I don't want people to see my face. But who knows how long it will take me to find a reliable cure. Months? Years? So why should I put my life and happiness on hold?

I want to encourage you to make peace with your appearance. Sometimes you can't control how you look and that's okay. This is all apart of the grand scheme of learning to love yourself, just as you are. Because I promise there is someone out there who sees you for who you truly are. And guess what? They absolutely adore you.

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