You Are What You Yoga

You Are What You YOGA for Daily Cup of Yoga

I saw an image recently of a big bowl of fresh fruits and vegetables, which had the following caption:

You Are What You Eat

So Don’t Be Fast, Cheap, Easy, or Fake

Pretty wise advice that gets right to the point in a clever way, and it got me thinking: The same thing applies when we step onto our yoga mats!

You Are What You Yoga

So slow down, don’t cheat yourself, take it easy, and stand in your truth.

Don’t be fast. You have the rest of your day to ride in the fast lane. Why not let the time you spend practicing yoga be all about decelerating? Slow down; take your time on your mat. The slower your breath, the deeper your practice. Don’t be in a rush to get into the poses. Instead, take the time to set up proper alignment first. Try stopping after each sun salutation to take a few breaths and savor it rather than rushing off to the next one.

Don’t be cheap. Be generous. Be generous with your breath and your energy, sharing it with the other people you practice with if you go to a yoga class. If you are practicing at home, don’t skip the time for savasana. Don’t cheat yourself out of a minute on your yoga mat by letting your thoughts drift to your to-do list. Stay present and grounded. Don’t be cheap in rewarding yourself; give yourself the gift of the time to reconnect with your spirit, fully present.

Don’t be easy. B.K.S. Iyengar would say that once you think you know everything there is to know about a yoga pose, that is when you stop practicing yoga. I think what he was trying to teach is don’t take the easy road. Always find new ways to challenge yourself on the yoga mat, new ways to explore the pose, to notice your body and your breath, to quiet your mind. I have done thousands of downward dogs, to the point where this pose should be easy, or even boring, but I’ll never get tired of the thrill of getting my heels a little closer to the floor, marveling at how far I’ve come on my yoga journey.

Do not aim low; you will miss the mark. Aim high, and you will be on a threshold of bliss.”
B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Life

Don’t be fake. Your yoga practice should belong to you, not the person next to you. Stop trying to stack up to some picture you have in your mind of what a flexible yogi should look like. Don’t worry if you can’t touch your toes, and please don’t try to force yourself into doing so! Honor yourself. Stand tall in your truth. And be ok with modifying a pose to fit your body, or taking a resting pose when you need to take a break.

You are what you yoga, so slow down, be generous, keep growing on your journey, and be true to yourself.


Editor’s note: This is another amazing guest post from Maria Santoferraro, E-RYT.  Maria is first and foremost a student of yoga and hails from the beautiful shores of Lake Erie, Ohio. A former marketing executive with a ‘Crackberry’ addiction, she now enjoys spending her time teaching yoga on the beach, leading “I Am Love” yoga retreats around the world, creating cool yoga workshops and meditation videos for HangTen Meditation. Go from stressed out to blissed out on her blog The Daily Downward DogTwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Join Maria this coming April for Beach Yoga Bliss in Aruba, a yoga, meditation, and SUPYoga retreat on Eagle Beach at Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa or her I Am Love Yoga Retreat in Santorini, Greece.


  1. I love these tips. A good reminder for me, I went to a class on Monday and have been suffering from muscle soreness since. I sufferer from a ME/CFS and was trying to push myself as well as try & keep up with everyone else in the class!  I have learnt my lesson! It’s ok to push yourself, but listen to your body and don’t qorry what everybody else is doing! 

    Lennae xxx

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  3. Thanks for sharing Maria, good for beginners or someone more experienced 🙂 There are lots of people with a certain expectation in their mind of where they should be a few months after they start, but don’t understand it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Can’t over exert yourself in yoga, or you will be watching others progress as you recover!

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  5. This is really great!  Yoga is more than a physical experience; you also need a mentally attentive state to fully immerse in the practice.  This article highlights why setting an intention for a yoga practice is so important.  Through an intention the mind and body can work together to channel your energy, forcing the mind to spend less energy on comparing ourselves with our fellow yogis.

  6. So good to remember to invest in you time!  It’s possible to discover so much about yourself and the pose and your breath when you take the time to be fully present and exploring.  great article!dailycupofyoga  and Maria!

  7. Because of the growing popularity of yoga, there are made so many different types of yoga. Today everyone can find a yoga type that suits him. Yoga helps you to become physically and mentally stronger. As you say, choose a style that suits your personality and be authentic!

  8. Good advice Maria! its really important I think for people to pick a yoga style that suits them and not to follow current trends and fads. ‘You are what you yoga’ 🙂 Namaste

  9. Hi,

    You are right Faking yoga means that we are cheating yourself.  Simple but important Tips while doing yoga. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Great article! Luckily, that’s the tagline of the diet program that I’ve been following now so as I read it and found out that it could also be applicable to yoga feels so overwhelming. It helps me get inspired to do even more. Thanks for this!

  11. I am loving Yoga! I am a beginner and chose it to find inner peace, de-stress, lose weight, and gain new perspective. I am kind of shall we say muddling through it at this point, trying to take my time and slow down to get the most out of it and not freak that the poses aren’t perfect at this point. If anyone has some tips or advice, cousel, I’d love to hear it! Tera

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  13. Very
    well said, I agree on your line. You know earlier I also kept myself fit with
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  14. Have you heard about the corporation Yogaglo and their intimidation tactics? They once tried to patent filming yoga classes to the disappointment of 14,000 people in the yoga community, and now they are STILL up to no good! They continue to attack small companies who talk about yoga OR fitness information with “glo” or “glow” in their name, excluding others from sharing this spiritual and cultural practice while suppressing free-speech and free-use! Sign the new petition against Yogaglo’s business tactics here:

  15. I loved your article. Thanks for sharing.
    For a lot a people Yoga is a exercise and for others it’s a way of living… I thinks it’s both things. Yoga can make you connect not only with yourself, your inner you… But with everything around you. It makes you strong (that’s why it’s considered an exercise), focused and mentally stable.
    Of course it’s a huge journey and It can make you happy and strong for what’s ahead. I just love what Yoga can do for you.
    I just found a site by Jan Zands that talks about getting into shape with a 5 key plan… I’m sure you would love it…

    Check it out and tell me what you think.

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