Yoga for me began probably like many other individuals, everything seemed impossible, postures seemed difficult, breathing evenly seemed impossible, and I thought I’d never even be able to touch my toes!
Practice felt daunting at first, which is why I decided to join a hot yoga studio where I could hide myself in the corner of the dark room. The idea of seeing other individuals further advanced in their practice creating beautiful movements of handstands and backbends created an unrealistic approach to what I had previously expected yoga to be about. I decided to let that all fade away and only to show up to class on a regular basis and focus on my breath and what felt best to my body.
Though tedious, I was determined to create new routines for both my body and my mind. And it started paying off quickly – results from yoga began as soon as one week later, as I noticed improved sleep patterns and my usually-busy mind growing quieter.
In the weeks that followed, the love that manifested for my yoga journey quickly uncovered the beginning of a new lifestyle transformation. Physical transformations including: yoga, meditation, journaling, breathwork as well as mental transformation body positivity, positive self-talk including words of affirmation, mental awareness and even a sense of self soothing therapy. Yoga became a moment of time for me – each day, a moment without all the busy-ness we endure from the moment we wake up, a moment in time that truly felt like just mine.
Kind of empowering, no? Shutting out the world seems like a harder task than ever these days.
Weeks later, I began to dive deeper into how it physically made me feel: more alive, less anxious, and able to maintain a brighter attitude. Beginning to acknowledge how these long-term effects were positively impacting my entire day, I began to immerse myself in it. For the first time in my life, I was truly connected to my heart and my breath here in the present moment and how it made me feel: whole, still, fulfilled… enough.
It became my innermost authentic journey.
In a society where one’s sense of self purpose can be lost amongst the sea of a digital world and seemingly helpless in the isolation of a pandemic. Yoga always makes me feel afloat and allows me to come home to myself in a present state of being.
To me, yoga confirms strength within one’s body more mentally than physically. My vulnerability becomes my power. Yoga allows me to slow down my internal momentum. It helps me to consciously create my most vibrant self and helps me to show up this way for the rest of the world. It also helps me to cultivate patience, kindness, and gratitude for all the wonderful ways I can honour my body and live my life to its fullest potential, expectation free.
Challenging myself to new classes to expand my practice, props and yoga accessories were introduced in ways I wouldn’t have thought to incorporate myself. There were moments that would present themselves in the studio, where I wouldn’t feel aligned with the current practice and I would pause and listen to what my body needed in that moment.
I quickly fell in love with restorative yoga and the presence of yoga accessories such as Yoga Bolsters and Yoga Blocks, easing into restorative postures such as Child’s Pose and Cobbler’s pose. Bolsters guided me to surrender into asanas easing pain in my joints previously caused to unsupported areas like my knees and hips.
After years of intentional rituals of self-love and routine yoga practice, I have recently invested in a Sit Set of meditation cushions for my breathwork practice. Investing in beautiful pieces from Love My Mat, my Zafu and Zabuton meditation cushions help me take pride in my sacred space and guide me in honouring myself throughout my wellness journey. Even on days where I don’t necessarily feel called to sit in ten minutes of meditation, I never regret it once complete. I always feel lighter and more present.
I can now confidently say that yoga props are for everyone, and that I would encourage everyone to try one that perhaps they may have never thought of before. Where courage lays, so does growth – and that’s one of the greatest achievements of my yoga journey: internal growth. The ability to always be learning.
It’s fun to explore, try new postures, fall, laugh, get back up and try again, again and again. I promise you, it will be that much sweeter when you achieve your goal — whether it may be an arm balance such as Astavakrasana or sitting in complete stillness for a long period of time in meditation. (Both equally as challenging!)
I’ve said a lot of things already, but what does yoga actually mean to me?
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it, and I’ve decided that it means a lot. It means accessibility, opportunities to practice becoming your most authentic self, learning to remain present, a mental reset and connecting in community. It means that there are no boundaries for who is allowed to feel good in their body. It means embodying the beauty of who you truly are, on the inside and the out. It means sharing the primary foundation for self-love, and it means being confident in your own skin – and for that, forever grateful for its magic.
Recommendations for some of Sarah's favourite Yoga Props & Meditation Accessories: