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40 Lessons in 40 Years

  1. How you feel trumps how you look.

  2. The most important part of yoga is the breath. Deep breathing transforms your life.

  3. Your mind can only focus on one thought at a time. Choose a positive one.

  4. Like begets like. If you see the good, the beauty, and the brilliance in others, they will prove these to you. The opposite is also true.

  5. Everyone is going through something. Everyone is dealing with addiction, loss, fear, unemployment, grief, worry, or some flavour thereof. Be kind to strangers. A smile can change someone’s day.

  6. Don’t walk away angry. It might be the last time you see someone.

  7. Don’t harbour anger. Anger is poison to the body. Negativity lodges in your cells and creates illness. Move through negative emotions with yoga, breathe, and allow the toxicity to dissolve.

  8. Everything will work out. It always does! I have 40 years of proof and expect the next 40 years to be no different.

  9. Every day is a new start. No matter what happened yesterday or even this morning, you can always start over.

  10. Decide the person you want to be and start acting like her, even if you don’t “feel like it.”

  11. Be grateful. I know, it's so cliché. But gratitude shifts your perspective, and perspective shapes your life. Start your day by looking around and seeing all that you have to be grateful for, all of the people, opportunities, friends, freedoms, challenges, possessions, and so on. Then go deeper. Feel grateful for the sun on your face, the breeze in your hair, the sound of birds chirping in the morning. My life is so rich with abundance.

  12. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. There is nobody in the entire world exactly like you. You are an unrepeatable miracle.

  13. There is no greater gift than forgiveness. The opportunity to forgive is a chance to set someone free.

  14. Meditate. Meditation offers a direct experience with your Source. It strengthens your religious or spiritual worldview. It allows you to move from believing in God to Knowing.

  15. Happiness is your birthright. Every obstacle in your life is an opportunity to put your spiritual tools into practice. You will get through it; that is certain. And when you do, you will be stronger than you were before.

  16. More often than not, being happy is better than being right.

  17. Life is not always easy. Every experience you have, good and bad, is designed to bring you closer to your soul’s purpose. Remembering this seems to make the tough times a bit easier.

  18. Don’t believe what you think. Thoughts are just that: thoughts. They are not universal truths or concrete certainties. Change the thoughts that cause grief, angst, or unhappiness. It really is that simple.

  19. Don’t criticize your body or focus on its so-called imperfections. It is the temple of your soul. Remind yourself of the miraculous physiological processes at play with every breath, every step, every blink, every hug, every everything. Our body deserves nothing less than profound respect and awe.

  20. Worrying is a waste of time and drains your spiritual resources. Take action to remedy something that bothers you—or accept the situation and move on.

  21. Don’t regret your past. It made you who you are today.

  22. Use your challenges to help someone else. I’ve suffered from chronic back pain for 20 years. It’s made me a more educated, empathetic, and experienced yoga teacher.

  23. Get rid of clutter. It’s a distraction.

  24. Read! Never stop learning. Find a topic that interests you and nurture that passion.

  25. You are stronger, more flexible, more powerful than you can imagine. Every once in a while, take risks, try postures, do something that enables you to see that.

  26. Cry when you need to. It’s cleansing.

  27. Pain and grief are part of the human experience. The more you hurt, the more deeply you loved, and that’s a beautiful thing.

  28. Let go of toxic relationships as soon as you can. Those are the people whose emails you dread seeing in your inbox. They’re the people who make your stomach tighten with anxiety. You don’t need and can’t afford the impact of that negative energy.

  29. “Bless and Release.” Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to stay friends. Sometimes it’s best to part ways.

  30. Growing old is better than dying young. You are here for a purpose. Find what that is and live it.

  31. Everything you need, you already have. Don’t waste time shopping or surfing, or window browsing. Time is precious.

  32. Writers write. Yogis do yoga. One word on a blank sheet, one sun salutation on the mat is a step towards your aspirations.

  33. Set goals every single day. The more the better. If you write down 300 goals and achieve only 10%, that’s 30 goals met!

  34. Give (and receive!) hugs when you can and hold them for a long time. Nothing is more important than human connection.

  35. No Mess on the Mat. You don’t need an iPod, toe socks, grippy gloves, the perfect clothes, or anything but yourself and the floor to do yoga. Breathe and move your body. THAT is yoga. The rest is a distraction.

  36. Give genuine compliments. It’s amazing how far a few kind words go! Thank the Rogers agent, be gracious to the grocery store clerk, compliment your condo rep on the snow removal, be patient at a drive-through. These people take a lot of crap.

  37. Lend your favourite book. Give away your nicest top. Lend and then forget about it.

  38. Get rid of excess. Someone else can enjoy what’s sitting in your closet.

  39. Give your time. Nobody is too busy to hold open the door. Manners matter. Use them.

  40. Tell your mother how strong she is, how proud you are. Develop a friendship with your mom—you only have one. And she is, after all, the reason you’re here.

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