Most people can agree that doing yoga regularly is not only a healthy practice for your body but also your mind. This is because yoga incorporates elements of mental health, personal growth, and spiritual development in with its physical components. There is good reason yoga has been practiced for thousands of years. Here are some yoga mantras and sayings that can help anyone with their self-development, no matter where they are in life.
1. Inhale and Exhale
This one seems simple, but we often forget to breathe deeply. Taking conscious breaths can help us reduce stress and find peace in overwhelming situations. Taking a second to focus on inhaling and exhaling with control can improve our yoga practices and help us realign ourselves and get back on track.
2. Always A Work In Progress
Remembering that we are always developing is the key to growing as a person. There is no end-goal, no finish line where once you get there, you’re done. You will never be perfect, but there is beauty in the idea that you will never stop growing. Do not compare your growth to others, but rather compare yourself to where you were yesterday and strive to always be improving, stepping forward toward your ever-changing goals.
3. Sky Above, Earth Below, Peace Within
Connecting with nature does wonders for the soul and reminds you of the big picture. When your focus is on the vastness of the sky or the beauty of the earth, it’s a lot harder to get hung up on things like gossip and drama. Remember your place on earth and use that to find peace within yourself, without depending on others to find it.
4. In The Midst Of Movement And Chaos, Keep Stillness Inside Of You -Deepak Chopra
We have so many responsibilities and extra-curricular activities going on, it can be easy to get swept up in the chaos of day to day life. It is important to keep peace and stillness inside of you so you can draw on it when things get too hectic. View yourself as a mountain and no matter how much the wind blows, you will not bend to it.
5. It’s Yoga Practice, Not Yoga Perfect
In yoga, there is always something to improve. If you are ever in a pose and it feels completely easy and effortless, you’re doing it wrong. There is always some improvement that can be made, some way to deepen or intensify the pose. That’s how you get better and stronger, even if you can never be perfect. That’s how you should live your life. Continue to challenge yourself every day to improve. And remember to allow yourself to mess up and to forgive yourself on your bad days.
6. Lots Of Love In, Lots Of Love Out
One of my favorite yoga instructors is Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. She always talks about breathing lots of love in and lots of love out, which is something we can practice on and off the mat. You are not alone, you are surrounded by the love of your friends, family, the earth, the universe, and whatever spiritual forces you may believe in. Breathe in and allow that love to strengthen and heal you, and then breathe out, allowing your heart to open and share the love within you.
7. Take This Time For Yourself
Yoga is your personal practice. It is not for or about anyone else. Feel free to forget about the world for a little while and focus on yourself; what you are feeling, thinking, experiencing. Allow this time for yourself during your yoga practice and periodically in your life in order to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself and to restore your inner peace.
8. Let Go
You’ll hear many yoga instructors tell you to let go, to let go of tension, of stress, of expectations. Whether you take it literally and sink into ragdoll pose a little deeper or take it more metaphorically and let go of negative emotions, criticism, or stress, you’ll find yourself relieved once you release what you have been holding onto. You are not responsible for holding the weight of the world on your shoulders.
9. Take Your Time, There’s No Rush
Our society creates a lot of pressure on people to always be productive and efficient, getting things done as quickly as possible and bouncing from task to task. Living life can get to feel like a competition which is stressful and degrades self-esteem and motivation. Instead, live your life at your own pace. Have a lazy Sunday afternoon or read some poetry instead of scheduling another obligation. Everyone’s life path is different. You don’t have to sprint through life to catch up to someone who is walking a completely different path than you.
10. Namaha (It Is Not About Me)
This sounds contradictory to my previous point that yoga is about you, but hear me out. Namaha is a mantra that many speak during meditation practices to remind themselves that the world does not revolve around them and that not everything is personal. When life tests you, it’s not an attack but an opportunity for growth. When someone snaps at you, it’s not a personal commentary, but rather a projection of what that person is going through. See things outside of yourself and do not overreact to stressful situations with the assumption that it’s all about you, because it probably isn’t.
11. Find Your Center
Having strength and stability in your physical center (your core) is important in yoga in order to balance and hold poses, but the phrase “find your center” runs deeper than that. Finding your center is about having a storage of courage, love, and peace within yourself which can be cultivated by a deep understanding of self and your place in the world. Understanding, accepting, and loving yourself will allow you to find your center, which you may draw upon whenever your life gets hectic or difficult.
12. If You Are Depressed You Are Living In The Past. If You Are Anxious You Are Living In The Future. If You Are At Peace You Are Living In The Present. -Lao Tzu
Obviously, depression and anxiety are complex issues, and if you are dealing with them I encourage you to seek help and remember the things in your life that make you smile and create more of that. But there is truth in the idea that feelings of depression are often based on past pain and feelings of anxiety are often worries about the future or things outside of one’s control. In order to find peace and enjoy the life we are living, we must focus on the present moment and the things within our control. The past cannot be changed and the future is not in our hands. Only the present moment can be helped, and it will be wasted if you spend all your time focusing on things you cannot control.
13. Find What Feels Good
This is another phrase from Yoga with Adriene that applies to yoga and life. In yoga, you should find poses that feel good. If something hurts or feels wrong, stop and adjust. You may be doing the pose wrong or it may just not be a good pose for you at the current moment. In life, you should surround yourself with what adds positivity to your life. If there are people in your life who lower your self-esteem or make you feel bad, they don’t need to be there. If there is a job, activity, or organization in your life that makes you feel bad, leave. Create a life that feels good.
14. Open Your Heart
You’ll often hear this during chest-opening poses to encourage you to deepen the pose and feel a stretch through your torso. Remember to open your heart chakra not only physically, but emotionally. Allowing your emotions to be expressed and heart to open to those around you will free you and open you to opportunity. You cannot receive the abundance of the universe if you are closed off to it.
This phrase, which is spoken very often in yoga, especially at the end of a session, can be roughly translated to: “the light in me honors the light in you” or “my soul respects your soul”. Acknowledging the beauty and grace in yourself and in others can create so much positivity and love in your life if you allow it. We should walk through life with an understanding that we are all on our own journeys which deserve respect from everyone, even if we may disagree or misunderstand. Namaste is a mantra of love, connection, respect, and above all else, peace. Let it fill your heart.