The last time I bought a pair of high heeled shoes was several years ago. I was at Macy’s looking for a pair of heels for a big event, which happened to be my wedding. I found a few pairs to try on and asked the store clerk to bring me a 6.5 which is typically what I wear in heels and flats. A had selected several styles to try, not quite sure what I wanted yet. When she brought me the shoes I tried them all on. Interestingly all of the pointy-toed shoes didn’t fit. Anything with a rounded toe was ok, but I thought to myself, did my feet grow? They haven’t changed size in over a decade. As I looked at my feet and my shoes I replayed all those moments barefoot on my mat, strengthening my feet and legs, my body and mind and realized, my physical yoga practice had made my feet change!
The practice of yoga, the movement, the breath, the mindfulness and all the other limbs of the practice have a way of infiltrating our lives. The more you practice and spend time on your mat the more the practice follows you off. It’s so interesting as someone who has had a physical yoga practice for over 10 years and has been teaching for close to 5 to continue to be amazed when this happens. Just the other day I realized as I was working with my pup who was being especially stubborn and bitey while we trained that my threshold for losing my temper, getting frustrated had changed and shifted again. My husband will tell you I’ve changed just since we met over 5 years ago and I attribute a lot of my ability to breath and process before I react to my yoga practice.
I share many of these stories and similar ones in my Yoga Foundations course with students to encourage them to stick with it and to become more observant with their practice and their time on their mat. I have found the more I am able to be present on my mat the more I can be present in my life off of it. Whether you have been practicing yoga for a long time, a short time, I think this shift becomes more and more apparent. It’s even changed my fashion sense. I find myself more drawn to flowing shapes, happy patterns & earthy feels in textures and materials. Because I teach full time and wear yoga fitness clothing everyday, I actually prefer less structured pieces when I am not teaching. It’s actually one of the reasons I love Daughters of Culture so much, I can wear their happy fun patterns in leggings and then put on my Prayer Gown and feel completely free and uninhibited.
How has the practice changed you? Are you more aware of your breath, your movement, your thoughts and the patterns of your mind? Do you find yourself taking a deep breath before you react to a situation or even realizing you don’t have to react at all? Yoga is a lifestyle, it’s more than just a fitness regimen, it becomes your life.
I joke that yoga has ruined me to be an unconscious member of society and has made me that annoying person who breathes really deeply while writing her blogs at the coffee shop. I find that I am able to process events that happened in the past with more compassion for the people I thought were out to get me and understand that all of those events I thought were happening against me were actually happening for me, to bring me to this place and this moment of realization. I do my best to honor all the teachers I have had over the years and the great lessons they taught me & continue to live my life in light and understanding. And the chances of me wearing pointy-toed shoes again is probably quite slim, but I’m ok with that. Honestly I’d rather go barefoot if I can help it! I’d love to hear about your practice and what shifts it has made for you, share a story of a moment you realized your practice had followed you off your mat, out of the studio and into your life.