Yoga can be fun. Yoga can be fast. Yoga can be slow. Yoga can be playful. Yoga can be spiritual. Yoga can be calming. Yoga can fire up deep emotions. Yoga can be healing. Yoga can be different things each time you step on the mat. Yoga is not a one size fits. For other people Yoga can be the complete opposite of all the things I have mentioned above. 

Yoga is more than just a physical practice. Indeed, there are days when I have the energy to flow through poses for 90 minutes, and there are days when I just want to go straight to corpse pose and let go.

The key to practicing yoga is to listen to your body. Be kind and humble with your practice. Connect with your breath and always allow it to guide you.

About two months ago, I started a personal ritual where I flow through a series of five sun salutations first thing in the morning. It is a good way to energize the body and shake out any stiffness after a night of sleep. This is also the time when I set my intentions. I choose something—a virtue, a dream, anything—that I want to cultivate as I navigate through my day.

We are all different. We are all beautiful. We all have our unique flaws. We learn who we truly are through our own strengths and weaknesses. This is a process. It is a journey. Some days are easier. Some days are tough. Some days, we have everything under control. Some days, we lose it.

Everyday choose to swap the negative with something positively beautiful. Choose light over darkness.

Each morning, as I flow through my sun salutations, I choose to remind myself of these five mantras:

I am grateful
There is so much to be grateful for everyday. My list includes waking up; being healthy; having a shelter over my head; and being a recipient of the gifts of love, family, and friendship. I truly believe that a grateful heart is magnet of miracles.

I am present
Living in the present allows me to appreciate where I am. This powerful mantra reminds me that now is all we have. Easier said that done, but, I try to let go of what is in the past and not dwell too much on what will be in the future. Instead, I practice appreciating and living the magic of the here and now.

I am enough
For someone who has always had self-confidence issues, repeating this mantra over and over again has made a big shift in how I perceive myself. The more I say it, the more I believe it, and the more I feel enough in every aspect of my life. I also remind myself that everything is enough. What I have. Who I am. And where I am.

I am at peace
For situations and things I cannot change, I envision peace within me. To help me navigate through the chaos of life with acceptance. To carry me through turbulent situations that are emotionally overwhelming. Reciting this phase is my way of letting go. It takes a lot of recitals, but the shift in my perspective eventually happens. It’s almost miraculous.

I am love
Love, love, love—the most powerful force in the Universe. I am in love with the idea of love. I believe in love. All forms of love. Love connects us. Love is healing. Love makes us hopeful. Love makes us feel alive. This mantra reminds me that love resides in my heart. Love starts from within me. I need to love myself first before I can love others.

These five mantras have now become part of my yoga practice. Through them, and through the poses that I do, I am able to cultivate not just strength and flexibility of my body, but also of my mind and of my heart. Each morning as I wake up to salute the sun, I also nurture the light within me so I can shine brightly not only for myself but also for the people I love.

-Lora by Lora-

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