How yoga taught me to be kind to myself


Before I truly entered the world of Yoga, I thought that it was just another workout. I would try to squeeze a yoga class into my weekly workout schedule, in between bootcamp classes and morning runs. For a long time, I only thought that yoga was just a type of movement — and a simple one at that.

It wasn’t until I began to delve deeper into my practice that I realized yoga is so much more than a couple of stretches on your off day. But, even as I became more immersed in my daily yoga practice, I still didn’t understand the commitment to self-care that’s embedded deep in it’s history.

Today, we associate “self-care” with face-mask selfies and tubs sprinkled with rose petals (how does that actually happen IRL is all I want to know?!). It’s easy in our social media-obsessed world to think that yoga just happens in posh NYC studios that have a cult-like following. But, when you strip away yoga’s reputation in the world today, and learn about it’s humble beginnings, it truly is a way of living — and a wholesome one at that.

I had been on the fence about signing up for a 200-hour yoga teacher training (aka thousands of dollars and seemingly weekends of commitment), so when I got the opportunity to take Mindbodygreen’s 100-hour virtual Yoga Training I jumped at the chance. I had finally reached a point in my practice where my physical movements weren’t enough.

There were certain aspects of the practice that I was aching to know more: What does Savasana really mean? What does fire-breathing actually do (or does it just make you feel like the weird girl in the corner)? The words my yoga teachers spoke and the way the held themselves both inside and outside of class was a coveted, secret language I was deeply curious to learn more about .

But interestingly enough, while learning about the deep history of yoga and it’s ability to connect the mind and body, the aspect that surprised me most was all the things you do outside of class.

Before taking my 100-hour training, I only viewed yoga as the moments inside of my practice. While yes, the movements and the mindset had longer effects on the rest of my day, I didn’t view it more than that. Yet, after my training I realized that the best yogis really view it as a lifestyle. It’s a practice that begins in the morning with a cup of warm water and lemon. It’s other morning rituals like meditation and breathwork. It’s being a kind, patient person.

Being a yogi isn’t about the way that you bend your body, or which studio you belong to. It isn’t about how many times you get your practice in per week. It’s how you view your life and treat your body. It’s how you think about your environment, and how often you give yourself permission to focus on You.

“Doing Yoga” doesn’t end after you get off the mat. It’s actually just the beginning.

Interested in taking that next step + delving deeper into your yoga practice? Start with mindbodygreen’s Advanced Yoga Training – trust me, it’s amazing!

Katina Mountanos