In celebration of World Yoga Day 2018 (June 21st) technical apparel brand, lululemon, is on a serious mission.
The mission aims to break down the perceived barriers that stop individuals from bringing yoga into their lives. At the core of their campaign, ‘yoga is yours’, lululemon wants you to know that regardless of age, gender, sexuality or physical ability, yoga can be (and is) accessible to anyone—starting this Thursday.
On Thursday morning, all lululemon retail locations across Australia and New Zealand will be offering complimentary yoga classes to guests. All classes will commence at 6.30am local time in each store in each city.
Ahead of this activation, we’ve called upon lululemon’s resident meditation expert and life coach, Kat John to shed light on ways you can overcome any blocks you may have towards mindfulness, meditation and yoga as a whole.
“Yoga is more than being on the mat in downward dog or warrior one for 60 minutes,” says Kat. “Although it appears that way, at the heart of yoga, it is the practice of self-awareness—being in the practice of an approach to life that helps us live meaningful and purposeful lives.”
So if you’re a non-yogi-type that looks at other yogi-types and think to yourselves, “I want whatever it is they’re having”, fact of the matter is, you can.
Read on to learn more from Kat.
Believing it doesn’t work for you
Say the word, “meditation” and all kinds of excuses come up. “I can’t sit for long hours. I don’t have the time for it! I’m not spiritual. I’ve tried it before and it didn’t work.” Yep, I used those too and still do when I want to avoid something in my life. And if I had $1 for every person who has said that to me, I’d be a millionaire! Meditation isn’t the enemy here, your ideas and expectations of how it should be, ‘frustrating’ previous experiences and dedication to not making time for it, are. Remember that all good things are worth the wait. Instant gratification and on-the-spot enlightenment need to be put to the side, for this is a lifetime practice.
You don’t have time
You do not have to sit for hours on end to have a profound experience of awareness. Answers, guidance, messages, and connection to your soul can happen in just minutes. When you create a consistent practice with an intention and sit with that intention through guidance or even silence—something very powerful begins to speak to you. You open up a dialogue with your inner being; your inner voice that shares your truth with you; a priceless gift to yourself.
You can’t silence your thoughts
Well, I don’t know about you, but there aren’t many times when my mind is completely empty. Thoughts come and go as they please and the bigger issue many of us experience is that we latch onto thoughts, thinking that they’re true and real. This has great potential to send us down rabbit holes of darkness, and if taken too far, we embody the thoughts making ourselves feel pretty low.
Meditation (remember, the practice of self-awareness) is a practice of not grabbing every thought and believing it to be the whole truth. Instead, you’re in the practice of acknowledging the thought, “good or bad” and not making it mean anything. When this lands and you truly get that you are not your thoughts, the door to freedom has opened itself to you.
“Meditation has freed me from believing every thought that enters my head, and continues to free me from the harsh conditions I place on myself and others to be perfect, ultimately allowing more room for love, joy and peace in my life.”
For example, a thought comes in and says, “you’re fat!” You can choose to latch onto it, believe it, embody it and feel depressed. Your next thought says, “nobody will love you because you’re fat”, and you choose to believe it. The next one says, “you’re not good enough”, and you believe it to be the absolute truth. However, you can notice the ‘fat’ thought, the ‘no one will love you’ thought, and the ‘you’re not enough thought’ and acknowledge it’s there. You hear it, you make light of it and you can say ‘thanks for your opinion, have a great day!’ In meditation, you train yourself not to believe everything your thoughts tell you which truly is the ultimate freedom.
You don’t have a mountain to sit on in lotus position, facing the sun
You can if you like, but no, it’s not necessary to practice self-awareness. You can do self-awareness anywhere you like—you can sit cross-legged, on a chair, couch or even in your bed. Any of these are fine. What’s more important is that you stop making it hard for yourself and just start your practice of self-awareness.
And by the way, you’re actually more receptive to deeper experiences when you’re comfortable, particularly when you’re starting out. This way your mind can be focused on what truly matters, rather than the pins and needles in your butt and legs.
Tips for switching off during meditation:
Accept that switching off is a practice in itself. It’s a practice of being okay with not achieving, not having to do something all the time and not needing to always be ‘on’. These are learned habits and habits are behaviours repeated over and over, reaching a point where it becomes natural. Switching off can be adopted and become a habit, but like any new learning, it takes consistent conscious practice until it becomes a natural habit.
An ancient teaching from the Tao says, “there is a time for being ahead, there is a time for being behind, there is a time for being in motion, there is a time for being at rest. There is a time for being vigorous, there is a time for being exhausted.” In other words, know when you need to be on, and when to slow life down. Know when to push yourself, and when it’s time to pull back.
Being busy is a way of life, and so is switching off. The question to ask yourself is, “what way of life is going to serve my highest good, my wellbeing and health?” Be patient during the process of change, be committed to the outcome you’re seeking and be realistic in your expectations. Ultimately, switching off allows you to [delve] into yourself and feed your soul, because, at the end of that day, that’s what really matters.
Get out of your own way. Stop believing your own excuses. Your confidence in yourself and the practice will build over time. Drop the instant gratification and expectation that you’ll nail it in one go. Just start.
International Day Of Yoga—Get Involved!
For information on what’s happening at your nearest store, visit lululemon.com.au.
Unable to attend? Not to worry! lululemon is treating you to guided online yoga and meditation practices that you can do in the comfort of your own home here.
See, ZERO excuses!