What 20 years of practicing yoga has taught me.

Everything is about balance.

Practice and all is coming- Sri K Pattabhi Jois

I entered my first yoga class in 1997. I was a junior in college, a full on dancer with absolutely no idea what yoga was besides hearing Sting talk about it in an interview. My then amazing Cuban/ American dance teacher, took us through our first ever yoga class and I thought someone had given me a drug and then punched me in the face. Everything I thought I knew about my body stood on its head- literally. Now 20 years on Its been a joyride of learning, making mistakes, learning some more, unlearning, realizing new truths and letting go of old ideas. Yoga has been my longest companion through life and, these are some of the things I’ve learned along the way.

  1. I am still learning and the more I know the less I know.
  2. Life isn’t that complicated.
  3. Being good to others doesn’t necessarily mean they will be good to you.
  4. Doing perfect poses doesn’t mater.
  5. Breathe damn it.
  6. The mind is a terrible thing to waste.
  7. Thinking too much is a waste of time.
  8. Yoga teachers aren’t necessarily good people.
  9. Good people are found in the most unlikely places.
  10. Respecting the body and its infinite wisdom is more important than poses.
  11. Being absolute, dogmatic or strict about yoga isn’t yoga.
  12. It is what it is, until its not.
  13. Yoga asana should be play not torture.
  14. If I miss a day, a week or more of practice I’m not a bad yogi
  15. Yoga certifications don’t make you a yoga teacher, practicing does.
  16. Reading philosophy can’t make you a better person.
  17. Being humble is better than being right.
  18. Letting go isn’t that easy.
  19. Helping others is the other side of control (Thanks Anne Lamott for the inspiration)
  20. I don’t adjust bodies any more, I help my students adjust their own bodies.
  21. This is the most wonderful, fulfilling, frustrating, practice and It has been the most life changing experience of my life.  (ok I added on for good measure)

Guruji Shri K. Pattabhi Jois explaining what yoga is: 


There are more I could add to this list, but I’ll keep it at 20 +1 for now.

I am deeply thankful for all the teachers that have come into my life. Yogis and non yogis alike. The teaching of this practice has given me incredible insight and much confusion to go with it, but I would never change a thing about this journey that I’m on. Ever learning, ever present. Ever in awe of what a wonderful thing humanity is.

On to the next 20 years.

Hari Om

You can find out more about my classes and what I teach at:



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Eleana Kouneli

A former dancer, current yoga teacher, writer, curious traveler and wild soul. My fuel and desire is to learn from others and spread healing and joy as I go. Follow my adventures and see where they lead you! All the stories are true, all the poems are real and all the writing is mine. Enjoy

4 thoughts on “What 20 years of practicing yoga has taught me.”

  1. This photo is the gift that keeps on giving. Also, all of this is so true. I often feel like the “bad yogi” guilt is just another translation of [insert religion here] guilt – nobody needs to get sucked into that kind of thinking!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A gift that I will always cherish my dear friend. I hope we can replicate it this year too 🙂 yes no guilt yoga has been my new mantra for some time now. Namaste sister


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