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(Posted by) Tammy Williams (Founder of Yoga NRG + Mindfulness Training Australia)
Lessons from the Mat – Megan Mattingley

I want to share with you some things I have learnt on the life-changing journey I embarked on, well as I have discovered it started many many years ago before I even knew what yoga was and that was the Journey that most of us are on “the journey to true happiness” we may not call it this but we are all seeking something and I was certainly doing that in maybe a more active way then the majority of people I researched many religions, health fads, self-help concepts etc but nothing seemed to resinate with me.

The truth is I was so busy listening to what society told me, “you need to be successful to be happy” “to be successful you need to earn lots of money, have nice things and live in a big house”. So for many years that was what I was working on getting all of these “things” that I thought I needed to be happy. But guess what? It seemed the more things I got the less happy I was the more stressed and uptight I was, the more I had the more I wanted, the more I wanted the more I was comparing what I had with what the Jones’ had down the road. So I ended up really sad and frustrated that I didn’t have the things that society made me think I needed. Then I had my first child and she had a very rough start to life and we were very lucky to have her, all of a sudden I realised that certain things like houses, cars and money were not that important anymore and life itself is such a precious gift.

My state of mind had definitely changed for the better but I still had a long way to go all of a sudden over a period of two years I slowly started to be consumed again with this idea that happiness is the stuff we have and I started to live my life like I was watching it on television and I appeared extremely happy on the outside but would beat myself up when I was on my own to the point of tears in the shower, very harsh negative self-talk and quite destructive self-sabotage, this went up and down for a while I had another gorgeous baby boy and shortly after I was becoming more and more secluded staying at home closing myself off from the world. In my mind, I was focusing on my children because this was my new focus but neglecting myself and everyone else around me except my children. Then one day I dragged my butt out of the house with the plans of going to the local markets and pretending I was “happy”. There was a sign that said “free Yoga” WOW if this wasn’t a sign then I don’t know what is. I’ve always been into fitness and had tried Yoga in the past but simply as an “exercise” and not the true Yoga practise.  Long story short I did Yoga the actual real Yoga the asana, pranayama, setting intentions, mindfulness etc. The teacher was a mum herself and immediately I felt so at ease and she really spoke to me needless to say I fell in love with it immediately I left that first class feeling relaxed for the first time in a long time.

At first, I began to realise that I was a better person after I practised yoga, a better mum, partner and friend I was calmer, kinder and more patient. And then I began to really embody the mindfulness side and started to look at the world differently I started to realise some of the many beautiful hidden details I’d been missing out on like the way the breeze feels on my skin, how beautiful a common butterfly moves so gracefully from leaf to leaf, how intricate the grooves and lumps on a tree trunk are and the soft touch of my children and their unique gorgeous smell that I began to drink up through my nose daily.

Oh how wonderful it was to see, hear, taste, touch and smell everything around me. I knew Yoga made me happy and so did my loved ones but still wasn’t entirely sure how, why etc so I embarked on my teacher training and this took my Yogi Journey to a whole new level. Through my studies I began to realise that the Asana was a tool and the real yoga was in the breath and the mind. I slowly learnt that when I took the focus away from the Asana and what poses I was trying to nail that week and focused more on the journey to getting there, Poses suddenly came easier and happened freely with nice controlled breathes. And then the light bulb moments came “ if I can feel this happy on the mat then I can use these techniques off the mat” and I sure did I began using my breath to bring calmness and peace to the stressed or frustrated mind, I began to nurture my mind and be kind to it and in turn I was much kinder and calmer with my children partner family and friends. Second light bulb moment “I have everything I need to be happy already” what I don’t need is the big house or lots of money to be happy? That’s right I realised from my mat that Happiness is a Choice and I can choose to be happy. So you know what, I chose happiness I started enjoying the flow on the mat listening to my body, I stopped judging myself and really enjoying the Asana, I made savasana important, I made a decision that just because man made money and society tells us it is what is important I am not going to make it important to me, what I now use as my currency instead of physical objects or money is love, quality time with friends and family, exploring, traveling, the outdoors, watching others achieve and sharing in my loved ones triumphs and achievements, having the ability to help others on their life journey, teaching Yoga and watching the ripple effect, knowing that my children have Yoga in their lives and I will love them unconditionally, being free form judgement on myself and others.

I have found my Happiness I now know my life goals and a big house and car are most definitely not part of that anymore. I opened my mind body and soul to Yoga and it has served me well it has given me back my happiness, my health and my emotional stability. My mind and body are stronger than ever, I am the best version of myself today and will continue to become a more authentic and greater version of me every day.

Yoga for me is not just on the mat it’s walking the dog, it’s bathing the kids, it’s making school lunches, it’s waiting in line, it is being still, watching something that brings you joy Its living in each and every moment and making it count. If you haven’t given Yoga a try you may never know if it could change your life like it has mine.

Namaste x

Megan Mattingley

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