Some of these may be familiar to you, and others may be something entirely new. But often we find that inspiration can come from just about anywhere. We may see it in the most unexpected places or come from the minds of those we trust and admire most. The real world can bring a variety of stressors and pressures that cause us to lose sight of who we are and what we strive to achieve, but having a quote to refer to can help us keep our spirit-centered and mind focused.
Yoga is an essential antidote to the daily grind. Your practice is your time to recharge your batteries, find your center, nourish your soul, and live life without this balance can be detrimental to your mind and body. These inspirational quotes capture the power and capacity of a strong, consistent practice. Perhaps these words can help you find the motivation and peace of mind that you, and everyone around you, can utilize as a subtle reminder to maintain a consistent practice in these turbulent times.
Yoga is a great way to find balance between your mind and body looking to start your journey. Check out the yoga society blog for great insights and tips.
1. "If we practice yoga long enough, the practice changes to suit our needs. It's important to acknowledge that the practice isn't meant to be one practice for everybody. The beautiful thing about yoga is that there are so many different approaches. As we go through our life cycles, hopefully, we are able to find a practice that suits us. And if you practice yoga long enough, that will change many times."
- Tiffany Cruikshank
This quote from Tiffany Cruikshank, the founder of Yoga Medicine, emphasizes how yoga can be different things to different people. A practice is meant to evolve with the individual. Cruikshank enforces the notion that yoga is a free-flowing entity that works to enhance and invigorate the mind, body, and soul whenever and wherever we see fit to practice. Throw off the shackles of perfection and expectation and let yoga serve you. But first, you must put in the work to get there.
2. "Yoga is not a work-out; it is a work-in. And this is the point of spiritual practice, to make us teachable, to open up our hearts, and focus our awareness so that we can know what we already know and be who we already are."
- Rolf Gates
Rolf Gates, acclaimed author, teacher, and former US Airborne Ranger emphasizes how yoga is only as effective as our attitude and level of personal commitment. Yoga is never meant to define us but to provide us with the ability to achieve our goals and prepare for the improvement that comes with it.
3. "True yoga is not about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life. Yoga is not to be performed; yoga is to be lived. Yoga doesn't care about what you have been; yoga cares about the person you are becoming..."
- Aadil Palkhivala
Here is another quote, from Aadil Palkhivala, that emphasizes similar sentiments to both Cruikshank and Gates' quotes. Yoga is about working towards becoming a better individual, and putting in the work to do it. You can't participate in a passive manner - you must commit yourself fully to continue the journey you are on and always reach for something more.
4. "Move your joints every day. You have to find your own tricks. Bury your mind deep in your heart, and watch the body move by itself."
- Sri Dharma Mittra
Sri Mittra is reminding us of something too many of us tend to forget. Some days it will be tougher to find the time to devote to your practice. But when you commit with your entire heart, everything else is bound to follow.
5. "Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees."
- B.K.S Iyengar
There are few more beloved and learned experts in the field than Iyengar. His style of yoga emphasizes the alignment and precision of posture and the importance of breathwork. Here, he reminds us that yoga has a transformative power to help one understand the world around them better so they may understand themselves with greater clarity.
6. "Learning to be present with yourself and to abide in that which is steady and comfortable does not allow space for self-judgment. When you live this way, you are practicing yoga: you are living fully."
This quote inspires us to be comfortable with who we are at all times. Lasater reminds us that yoga is a state of mind and extends beyond the physical. Taking a positive approach to life and living in a manner that brings happiness and self-value is a practice in and of itself.
7. "Anyone who practices can obtain success in yoga but not one who is lazy. Constant practice alone is the secret of success."
– Hatha Yoga Pradipika
Here is a quote that should motivate even the most reluctant or exhausted individual. If you want your practice to thrive and you wish to grow from it, you need to get out there and do it. Sure, yoga is a state of mind, something that we must be cognizant of each and every day, but doing the work in both the body and the mind is the only true path to success. So get out there and practice. Don't put it off until tomorrow - continue your journey today.
8. "Change only happens in the present moment. The past is already done. The future is just energy and intention."
Yoga is about being present in the moment. Clear your mind of all the things that you have waiting for you outside of your practice. Forget the things that have happened. You can't change the past now. The future is unwritten. But how you go forward is about taking charge in the now. These are very wise words to consider for those of us who are too hung up on what has already transpired or worried over what is to come.
9. "Yoga begins right where I am – not where I was yesterday or where I long to be."
This quote from one-time editor-in-chief of Yoga International Magazine Linda Sparrowe, reflects the same sentiment as MacGregor's quote. Sparrowe makes it even more straightforward and easier to hear. Your yoga practice belongs here, in the now. Nowhere else.
10. "The body benefits from movement, and the mind benefits from stillness."
– Sakyong Mipham
This quote could be the most accurate distillation of how yoga can improve our lives. The body and the mind both prosper greatly from the motion and clarity that can be found in any yoga practice. These are facts that we must never forget and should always strive towards reaching with heart and soul.
11. "There will always be people who can do it better than you, but that's a good thing! Start to see competition as inspiration, without envy."
Indeed, yoga is not a competitive sport. There are no adversaries here, but the ones you create. Budig reminds us that you should always look to others for motivation to improve, hone your skills, and achieve your goals and objectives. Let the person next to you in class inspire you to hold that pose you might be having difficulty with today. Work harder, and you will get there.
12. "The yoga pose you avoid the most you need the most."
We don't know where this short quote came from, but it says quite a lot in just a few words. We all have that pose we would instead not do, which's too tough or that we just don't like. But if you think about it, why is this pose in particular such a challenge? How do we rise to that challenge? That's up to you.
Related: What is Kundalini Yoga?
13. "That's exactly how it is in yoga. The places where you have the most resistance are actually the places that are going to be the areas of the greatest liberation."
– Rodney Yee
The great teacher Rodney Yee is telling us something very similar to that anonymous quote above. Taking the easier, more comfortable route along the journey brings fewer dividends than when you truly challenge yourself to take on the toughest struggles. That's why we seek out strength and knowledge when we practice because there is very little to learn when you take the easy way forward.
14. “Yoga means addition – addition of energy, strength and beauty to body, mind and soul."
– Amit Ray
Amit Ray says it best here; yoga is always giving us something new to bring into our lives. We would do well to remember this every time we step into the studio or private space and prepare to open hearts.
15. “Yoga is a light which once lit will never dim, the better your practice the brighter your flame.”
– B.K.S. Iyengar
We end with the wisdom of Iyengar once more. This is a quote we should speak out loud daily, to remind ourselves that we have chosen each of our individual paths for a reason. Those reasons should continue to drive us forward and enforce the belief that we only get from yoga that we put in.
Looking for more yoga resources? Check out the Yoga Society website for insights, tips and gear.