Inspiration 9 Things Everyone Should Know About Yoga The number one thing? It really can change your life. By Zuzu Perkal Photo by Jake Laub Join us at a Wanderlust 108! 1. Yoga is for everyone. Yes, everyone. Though it may seem to be a physical activity—and it is—it is very much an inward moving practice. It’s about union and the relief of suffering. Everyone has something they need to let go of. Everyone needs a time out from life to self reflect and everyone needs self love. 2. It’s surprisingly super hard to avoid getting addicted to yoga. …and that’s OK! Yoga is good for the mind, body, and soul. 3. You don’t have to be able to do a headstand, crow pose or any other advanced pose to join a class. People are often intimidated by yoga because they aren’t flexible, can’t do all the poses, or don’t feel comfortable in classes because they aren’t as advanced as other students. I get it. It’s tough to walk into a class and have to go into child’s pose or a beginner modification to a pose while the majority of the class are showing off their beautiful full expressions of poses. It’s part of the journey. A little secret: I wasn’t able to do crow pose until three years after I started yoga, and I still can’t do a head stand without the wall. I do what I can and love my body for what it allows me to do. 4. Yoga is whatever you want it to be. My thoughts on yoga probably differ from everyone else’s. Like I said before, yoga is an inward practice, so its meaning and use are going to differ for everyone. I challenge you to find your own meaning of what yoga really is. Take it for more than the asana practice. Consider the breath work, calmness of your mind, and energy work equally as important. Find out what yoga is to you and your life and share it with others. 5. Savasana is the most important pose of the entire asana practice. Savasana is the short period of time when your mind and body are most relaxed and at ease. It’s a brief moment in time when you can fully relax, let go of the past and the future and just be fully present. It’s the time when you can tap into a deeper part of yourself. It’s a meditative pose, and after an entire yoga class, you’re most likely more prepared for inward movement. 6. Yoga should embrace community and connection This means next time you go to a class, don’t just leave afterwards without saying hello and introducing yourself to someone new. Make a new yoga friend! We connect with other students and our teacher during our asana practice. Foster the growth of this connection and build community by interacting with other yogis after class! 7. Yoga can be used outside of the studio. When life is crazy, work is hectic, and you can’t seem to get a break, find the lessons you learned in your yoga classes. Stop, close your eyes and breathe. Even if it’s just three slow deep inhales and exhales through your nose, you will feel more calm than if you continue pushing through crazy moments of life. Sit tall and proud; have good posture, allow yourself to feel connected to others around you and the universe as a whole, and never forget to love yourself. Your true self lives inside of you and when life seems to be spinning out of control, look inward and find peace. Follow your inward light and live with love. 8. It’s OK to have fun! We’ve talked a lot about moving into one’s self, finding inner peace, connecting to those around you, and a handful of other things that are to be taken seriously while finding your way down the yoga path. There’s this other, very serious element of yoga, and that’s having fun. It’s essential. Well, I think it’s essential. Life is precious and we must treasure the moments we have here. Why not show appreciation by having fun, laughing, and enjoying ourselves? It’s ok to giggle when you fall out of tree pose. It’s quite acceptable to smile when your mind is screaming at your body to get out of pigeon pose. 9. Don’t forget to breathe. In general, just breathe. Remember this word, concept, and practice while practicing yoga and also outside of the studio. Our breath tells us what’s going on in our body. When we’re nervous, scared, or stressed our breath is shallow, quick and often shaky. When we are calm, peaceful, and unstressed our breath will be long, deep and fluid. In our practice, when poses get difficult and our body starts to shake we must remember to focus on our breath. This idea can be applied to daily life too. This piece originally appeared on Wanderlust.com in June 2014. — Zuzu is a California girl currently living and loving, in Austin, Texas. If you asked her to explain what she “does” in life, she would probably explain herself in one excited, expansive gapping breath. It’s a task to explain that you’re an artist, adventurist, photographer, event planner, graffiti writer, socialite, and a yoga instructor for a living! Her wild wanderlust soul is sustained by her creativity, love for life and her many travel adventures. Zuzu believes nothing more than, “during our short time here, we should all focus on adding our own brilliant light onto the world”. She recently graduated from the first ever Wanderlust teacher training and is now continuing her beautiful journey along the yogic path of life, and loving every second of it.