Often the way you act on your mat is the way you act off your mat. Or the things you struggle with on your mat are the things that, yes indeed, you struggle with off the mat.
So begins the intro for ‘Revolution: 31 Days of Yoga’ on the popular YouTube channel ‘Yoga with Adriene’. The voice and face behind the screen is that of Adriene Mishler. In her yoga videos, the native Texan invites the 2-million-strong yoga community to join the experience and cultivate a healthy relationship with oneself.
‘Experience’ is a key word in Adriene’s vocabulary. Following her varied videos, you feel free to create a yoga practice that’s unique to you. She has a way of forging an authentic presence through the looking glass – like she’s in the room with you.
“I don’t want people to do yoga. Surprise!” gushes Adriene as we sit face to face with no screen between us. “I’m not trying to teach. It’s a little outdated, this idea of student and guru. Just like in theater, I want to set the tone for the practice so we can go on a journey together.”
Words have power – use them wisely
The theater reference has relevance to Adriene who, as a trained actress, has managed to manifest two dream careers. Her professional theater background is what helps her communicate with confidence and intention to her yoga audience. On the set, she draws from the idea of being on stage, being present, and letting a great story unfold.
“Early on, I was introduced to a discipline called the ‘Actors’ Language’, which covers not only words, but tone of voice, gestures, and movements. Basically, it’s what we now refer to in the wellness world as positive affirmation, or conscious language. In yoga, I am also using my body to have a voice,” she tells, her hands drawing a slow circle as she speaks.
Translated to our everyday lives, conscious language helps us identify the beliefs that are holding us back and reframe them as positive affirmations, something that echoes throughout Adriene’s channel. Indeed, choosing and using words that are supportive of us and others would be a wise approach not only on the yoga mat, but off it, too.
Take the yoga feeling with you
One conscious phrase that pops up repeatedly is the community slogan and Adriene’s mantra, ‘Find What Feels Good’. It sounds like the perfect antidote for today’s high-performance culture – but what does it really mean?
“The mantra, oddly enough, doesn’t focus on the word ‘good’ – it focuses on the word ‘find’,” explains Adriene. “Finding What Feels Good is about you having an individual conversation with yourself on a daily basis. It’s a tool genuinely everyone can use.”
Yoga, as Adriene interprets it, inspires us to listen, especially to our bodies. “The more we delve into that, the more we are able to take a breath in the office, and listen and go, ‘How should I respond instead of justresponding?’”
Check yourself before you wreck yourself
Adriene seems like the epitome of calm, so who better to give advice on how to deal with negative emotions in the office and off the mat, in general.
“Whenever I feel anger or resentment creeping in, I check in and ask, ‘Okay, what do I really need today?’ Of course, the answer usually is yoga. But in essence, those negative emotions should be your trigger to pause before you react. We all want to be better communicators. We all want to be the best versions of ourselves.”
The practice and philosophy of yoga in our world right now couldn’t be more relevant. Just like Adriene says through the screen:
“Revolution is for all levels, all bodies, all types, all moods. It changes every day, just like we change every day. It’s asking you to really be present.”