Yoga Life Lessons Under 40
Recently, a certified Ashtanga teacher, Kino MacGregor asked us yoga practitioners and seekers to post something about what our life lessons are. Coincidently, my birthday was two days later, and being the conscientious Virgo that I am, I had set my intentions and already written my most recent lessons down. My birthday has always fallen on the first day of school, so as an eager student of earth, I’ve been programmed to do my homework ahead of time. I will probably revise these guidelines each year of my life, as I experience more events, but right now, these ring true, especially while living in this inauspicious Kali Yuga.
I am still under 40, but I feel that through my life experience, I’ve gained some insight on how to live a happy, peaceful life. I think I’ve done my homework. As Virgos, when balanced, we can simultaneously be creative and very logical. It’s that balance we strive for which is one of the reasons a spiritual practice or set of revised guidelines is imperative for growth. The Yamas and Niyamas are bullet-pointed to include some but not all of the eight limbs. However, if you are familiar with the Sanskrit names for non-hoarding, happiness, and non-harming, and meditation you will recognize these words as an abbreviated revised eight limbs.
SEE ALSO: It’s Okay To Not Be Happy
Wake up early. Before sunrise, the mind and the outside world is the quietest. If you wish to keep that frame of mind, meditate or practice yoga during this precious time period. Sleep 7 to 8 hours as quality sleep equals quality life. Avoid overusing stimulants that speed up the heart.
Think outside of yourself. True liberation is when you realize another’s happiness is greater than yours. If you have the resources, give to local and global causes. Purge what you don’t need. Once I felt liberated and enlightened, the first thing I wanted to was to HELP other people. Don’t just stand there and ruminate. Join a church group, non-profit, and maybe rebuild homes. Selfless service may not get one noticed, but it’s going to help one grow intrinsically. It’s like eating a good piece of humble pie alone. The filling tastes delicious, but not everyone can see it.
Self and Others: Niyamas (Observances) Of the Eight Limbs of Yoga
People can be rude, sneaky, and non-confrontational. Don’t waste your time worrying about them. Say your peace and walk away. Purge the anger and don’t harbor resentment through yoga practices, meditation, or another array of healing modalities. The universe has repeatedly taught me this lesson for the past five years. Lesson: Don’t take it personally. It’s their problem, not yours. Spend an hour alone a day breathing. Even if you don’t technically meditate, be with yourself and observe your breath and thoughts.
Think outside of yourself. True liberation is when you realize another’s happiness is greater than yours. Give to local and global causes. Purge what you don’t need. Eat, drink, and exercise moderately. The right foods and drinks have chemicals that can help with anxiety/depression. Think beets, apples, cereal, and tofu, for instance. Exercise with intention: breath and movement combined so you enjoy it! If you set the goal of looking like He-Man or She-Ra, you may be disappointed. However, without expectations, you may realize you have the body you once desired. Tada! Enjoy exercise: yoga, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, swimming, etc.
Treat children well. To this day, I remember every time an adult scolded me as a child. I’ve seen people be rude to babies, toddlers and personally my 4-year-old son. It is the most horrible thing an adult can do. Treat children with love.
Forgive. In the last three months, 8 friends of mine have lost a total of 10 parents. Be kind. If every word you speak is kind, you’ll be in a state of heaven. I’m paraphrasing Jack Kerouac. He’s a dharma bum. I’m a dharma mom. Take annual vacations, staycations and retreats. Travel the country, the world, and learn about other cultures. Material things mean nothing. Entitled people bring nothing to this world and take resources and energy. Read the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.
Anger is healthy as a form of purging. If you mess up, by practicing purging anger as target practice on another human being, apologize. Apologize, even for the slightest mistake or offense.
If people don’t accept your apology, they don’t deserve to have you in their life. In a study of people on their death beds, the greatest regret wasn’t being a nicer person, it was NOT standing up for their selves when they had the chance because they were worried about being perceived as “nice.” They regretted not saying something when someone offended or insulted them. There are ways of being non-violent and direct in communication, but firm in your stance, It is important to be nice, but also respect yourself, first and first most.
Don’t follow the hype, gossip or join cliques. All three have caused suffering in my life and I don’t wish to be a part of causing suffering in another human being’s life. Drink, smoke, and partake in scheduling 1 to 4 substances for medicinal purposes only. Recreational use of substances at age 39 serves no higher purpose.
Stay humble folks!
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