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New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project and mom of two daughters in New York City opens up about her practice.
1. She started practicing yoga in 2004.
I started practicing yoga in 2004. After my first class, I knew yoga was going to be different from the running and fitness classes I’d been doing. Yoga connects me to my body and spirit.
2. She practices Jivamukti yoga.
I practice vinyasa with Jon Cassotta, who is a Jivamukti-trained teacher. Yoga has become a habit that I maintain consistently. The only time I don’t practice is when I’m out of town—or when Jon is. I’m not a yoga explorer. I know that the novel and challenging can be inspiring, but I also have a strong affection for consistency and regularity. When it comes to yoga, I want to do it the way I know and love.
3. Her yoga practice helps her off the mat.
My teacher has given me a lot of insights. What I learn on the mat serves me off the mat, too. One of these lessons is holding still where you are—and knowing you can do it longer than you might think. I’m impatient and get annoyed when things don’t move efficiently—like while waiting in line at the grocery store. Now, if a woman in front of me is taking coins out of her purse and slowly counts them out to pay, that’s OK.
4. Yoga has helped her gain self-acceptance.
Yoga is helping me understand how to simultaneously accept and expect more of myself. It’s helping me raise the bar. For example, I am a fearful driver, and for a long time I didn’t drive. I could have accepted my dislike of driving as part of my nature or I could have asked more of myself. My solution was to take driving lessons again to help ease the fear. As a friend told me, “You may never like to drive, but that’s not the same as not being able to.”
5. She holds herself accountable for her yoga practice.
In writing my most recent book, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, I found that starting over can be harder than starting the first time. So, protect your yoga practice. Schedule yoga into your week in a way that’s not up for debate. Create accountability, whether to your teacher or a friend, or through paying for classes in advance. And notice how, when at the end of class your teacher says, “I’ll see you here next week,” she’s encouraging a subtle form of accountability.
Gretchen’s Words to Live By
“‘Be Gretchen.’ Swap in your own name. You can build a happy life on that taproot.”