Before I started practicing yoga, like many other people I know, I thought it was a bit of a joke; people going to a studio to dance and prance around on a mat, seeing who can lift their leg the highest, fold their bodies into unnatural shapes, while simultaneously feeding their ego’s. I regularly told myself, “I will never be one of those people who attend yoga. It’s definitely not for me.”
Now, however, I am a registered yoga instructor and if I am honest with myself, it is because on a deeper, perhaps sub-conscious level where my ego couldn’t reach, I was always secretly interested in learning and exploring yoga’s true essence; I knew there had to be more to it than what was being portrayed in the Western world.
Personally, I practice yoga as a means to regularly check-in with myself and to see where I am at physically, mentally and emotionally. How am I doing today? Is my mind busy? What is my current thought process, and how are my actions and attitudes in regards to myself and others? Through participating in the physical practice of yoga, I am able to find clarity and stillness within my mind, while discovering harmony and balance within my life.
It allows me to detach from things that aren’t serving me in a positive way, such as: emotions, materialistic items, money and power, ultimately inspiring me to live the life I love living.
For many, yoga brings a sense of contentment and peace within, though when questioned they cannot describe why. “I like who I am when I practice yoga” is perhaps the most common response. For certain individuals, this might be a good enough answer; however, it is definitely not the only one.
Yoga allows you to check-in with the mind and ego, tone up and strengthen the body and wind down anxiety or stress levels
Some quick physical benefits of yoga include:
- Reduction of stress, anxiety and tension
- Soothes arthritis and asthma
- Lowers blood pressure and regulates the heart-rate
- Improves sleep patterns
- Promotes weight loss
- Releases neck, back, shoulder pain and discomfort
- Aids to reverse depression and chronic-fatigue
- Improves strength, flexibility, endurance, muscular tone and range of motion
- Stimulates the nervous system to boost the immune system
- Improves clarity, peace, creativity and expression
So if you’ve always been interested in attending a yoga class but have been skeptical to do so, challenge yourself to leave your comfort zone! The benefits are vast and endless and will leave your body, mind and spirit in an optimal state. Chances are you will enjoy yourself during the class and be thankful that you made the effort to give yoga a try.