How yoga gives me permission to be my true self

Permission. This word has many meanings depending on the context. Authorization, consent, leave, authority, sanction, license, blessing, clearance and empowerment.

Such a powerful word with so many meanings. Twenty-four hours a day 365 days a year we are constantly thinking, planning, shifting away from the now. Living in this moment becomes rare, almost a challenge. Yoga has always given me permission to divert from the thinking, the planning, the shifting and find my way to the now.

Battling “busy”

I live a full life. A yoga studio owner, teacher, student, and a yogi. Outside of yoga, I am a full-time high school educator, and a part-time student enrolled in a yoga therapy program. The point is, our days can quickly fill up. Our state of mind and life can become “busy.” Take a moment to think about the questions and the countless number of times many of us have responded with the same answer… “busy.” “How are you?” “How was your day?” “Did you have time for you?” I am challenged daily to slow down and respond with something besides “I am too busy.”

Yoga has taught me that life doesn’t always have to be so busy. I can simply press pause on “busy.” When I roll out my mat, lay down and simply breathe, I embrace stillness. No cell phone, no emails, no to-do list, no noise. It’s my mat and me. During this time, I am giving myself permission to experience, to move, to breath, to be still, to self-love and to live in the now.  

Occasionally, I have those we-need-to-talk intimate conversations with myself. Each morning I look in the mirror and say, “I can do this.” Each day I come home from work, I take a moment to ask myself, “ How am I feeling? What is my body trying to tell me, and am I listening? Do I need an extra hour of sleep? A girls day? Some ice cream? To watch the sunrise? A vacation? To simply slow down?” I take a moment to reflect on my thoughts and create my reality.  My reality is what my body and mind need. They need my authentic true self. 

From movement to self care

I give myself permission to take steps towards my authentic true self. Yoga has guided me in the past decade to realize that I have the ability to make decisions and create an environment to care for myself. It has given me permission to understand when I need to sleep more, breathe more, or to spend more time with my loved ones. It has given me an awareness of the connection between mind and body. At first yoga was all about the movement — an exercise. However, through the years, I have experienced yoga on and off the mat and learned that yoga is beyond the movement. It encompasses my body and the thoughts, foods and air I feed it. Yoga has taught me the beauty of real. This is my journey — always evolving and growing. I guide my students on and off the mat to feel empowered to give themselves permission to be their authentic selves and to love each part of them as they are. Mind, Body, and Spirit.

Please join the conversation in the comments section below. I would love to hear from you. 

Anna Eshoo
Contributor & Founding Member

A Turlock native, I graduated from CSUS earning a BA in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Child Development. Continuing my studies, I also earned a Multiple Subject & Business Credentials along with being awarded my MBA. While pursuing my college education Yoga came into my life, beginning my training under the guidance of Dr. Ping Lou. I continued to pursue my newfound passion that lead to earning my E-RYT500 Certification. I am currently enrolled in a Yoga Therapy Program SMC, Marin Ca.

I founded I AM YOGA Wellness Studio in 2008 fulfilling my desire to share my passion for Yoga. Beyond Yoga, I teach career classes to high school students. I am a passionate yogi who believes in self- love, self- care & have the ability to empower my students on & off the mat. Deeply committed to helping individuals participate in a practice that strengthens & empowers. I guide students bringing awareness to their body, mind and spirit. I allow students to grow in their practice naturally, encouraging them to evolve at their own pace. I have a passion to inspire others to be comfortable in their own skin while living a happy, healthy life.

Share Your Thoughts

Regina W

July 23, 2017 - 11:43am

I have been afraid to start a yoga practice - I feel too old, too fat. The only permission I need to begin is my own. Thank you.

Elizabeth W

September 10, 2018 - 11:11am

Hi.  I feel the same was Regina does. I don’t even know where to start. Where should a beginner and very new newbie begin?

Anna Eshoo

September 11, 2018 - 7:37pm

Hi Elizabeth,
I believe Yoga is for EveryBODY and there are so many accessible classes now available. Can you find a yoga studio near you that leads restorative, yin, chair yoga classes, or deep stretching? I feel that would be a wonderful place to begin. Work on positive affirmations, deep breathing and continue to tell yourself you deserve self-love and care. Much love to you.

Anna Eshoo

June 30, 2018 - 2:57pm

Hi Regina,
I hope you have taken time for you and you have given yourself permission to take care of you. Much love to you.

Flissa M

July 13, 2017 - 8:54pm

Yoga completes me!!!  I love teaching and taking classes, retreats, workshops and meeting teachers who really share their wisdom!!! Sat Nam!

Anna Eshoo

June 30, 2018 - 2:58pm

Thank you for sharing!

Radiah G

July 12, 2017 - 8:41am

Reading your story is pure enlightenment for me. I am in teacher training right now and know I want to be a light in my community by getting more children onto the mat. Continue to be a light and touch the students in high school. I am working towards the K-6 and middle school age children. One Love!

Anna Eshoo

July 12, 2017 - 12:08pm

Hi Radiah,
Thank you, so excited for you! Teacher training programs are so informational and empowering you will touch many lives and the best part is, you get to at such a young age!! Enjoy your training!

Kristi C

June 28, 2017 - 11:42am

A wonderful story. It seems like we always need permission outside to do the things we need to do. However, it is really the internal permission that counts the most. Yoga has always beckoned to me, but a busy life has given me excuses to push it aside. I need to give myself permission and intention to have it. Thank you!

Anna Eshoo

July 12, 2017 - 12:06pm

Thank you and you are so welcome! Yes, give yourself permission…so powerful!

Lynn D

May 27, 2017 - 7:59pm

Thank you for sharing your story, Anna. As you stated, life is a journey, always evolving and growing. Until recently, I took a lot for granted. It’s hard to go from a life where you hold on to the words “You’re being selfish” and learn that it is not necessarily selfish but an act or acts of self love. I have this yearning to start practicing yoga and after reading your article, I finally feel ready to begin. I only wish that I lived close enough to attend your classes!

Anna Eshoo

July 12, 2017 - 12:05pm

Hi Lynn, You are so welcome, I wish you lived closer as well. I am so excited that you are ready such powerful words…you are ready!!!

Dawn Vickery

May 17, 2017 - 4:52pm

Thanks for sharing your journey Anna. It’s been almost a year that walked into your studio and started my own journey with yoga and I’m so glad I did. You’re so right it’s not about the movements, but how yoga starts to change every facet of your life. I’m so much calmer and learning to say “No” when I really don’t want to do something and not feel guilty about it. I’m listening to my body more, reconnecting with my son. I’m also sleeping better and my mind is a lot clearer too. I can’t wait to see where my yoga journey takes me next.

Anna Eshoo

July 12, 2017 - 12:03pm

Dawn, So happy to hear. Thank you for taking care of you and making you a priority.


April 5, 2017 - 3:09pm

Well stated. Yoga, and part Anna, has taught me that permission to take care of yourself is not selfish, however often thought as otherwise. My journey to self awareness and fulfillment have been riddled with more questions than answers and thru yoga I have been able to give myself permission to let go of the preconceived ideas and conceptions that otherwise restricted my wellbeing.  Permission is indeed a very powerful word, and I think that Anna has captured it correctly.

Anna Eshoo

April 6, 2017 - 11:10am

Thank you for sharing your truth and the realness of challenges in life. Love that you are giving yourself this permission and yoga has helped.


April 5, 2017 - 2:10pm

Meaningful and freeing. It brought me back to what is important - being ‘not-so-busy’ on a regular basis. Thanks for providing me the opportunity to self-love!

Anna Eshoo

April 6, 2017 - 11:08am

Kim, Thank you! It’s always a challenge but can be done with intention! Enjoy being in the now!!


April 5, 2017 - 11:27am

Beautifully written Anna! You have accomplished so much and yet still see the importance of being in the moment. You inspire others to set goals, be successful, incorporate balance in their lives and stay focused on what really matters. You are a wonderful example to all of us! Thank you for caring so much about people and sharing your positive energy with everyone you meet!

Anna Eshoo

April 6, 2017 - 11:06am

Thank you for your comment and such beautiful words you have written. Very touched.

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