Yoga awakens the body, stabilizes and strengthens, softens and opens. Yoga creates a connection within ourselves.
I was first introduced to yoga in my early 20s and then started practicing again in my 30s. I took some classes and enjoyed them immensely, but it took a long time to truly get it and experience the benefits beyond the physical practice. Many years later I incorporate yoga into my daily life without it being a chore. Now, it brings me only joy and a sense of calm and confidence.
Having a heart and mind open to the possibilities of yoga with no preconceived notions of how it should be and look is what made the difference in my practice then and now.
For 1,000s of years yogis have touted the mental, physical and spiritual benefits of yoga. Patanjali, author of yoga sutras, the first yoga text known to be written, defined yoga as chitta-vritti-nirodhah which means cessation of the turning of the mind. That’s what yoga means for me, a calming of the mind so that I can slow down and stop the whirlwind that exists in my head.
One of the great teachings of yoga is called the Kaivalya, which in Sanskrit means “space from the mind.” When you are not engrossed in your mind, you don’t react to things, but instead you respond and the response is from a source of inspiration, insight and intuition.
We live in a society that creates a mindset of everything we do is important and urgent. All the situations that arise in our everyday lives demand our immediate attention which fuels a non-stop mind and agitation. Many of us living in the western world never slow down. We go. And we go some more. The price of having many options, fewer boundaries and lots of freedom and choices, is that we don’t have any natural breaks from the constant go and do.
We are driven by schedules or perceived obligations of what we should and have to do. The busy mind takes over and our life becomes built on concepts rather than truly living in a way that allows us to emerge naturally and just be. Very often we get caught up in social media, trends and keeping up with what everyone is doing and we get lost in the excitement and the should-ing ourselves and forget how to slow down. Sometimes the non-stop lifestyle creates numbness to our true desires and needs and we lose that connection within ourselves.
The many benefits of yoga affect us somewhere along the physical, mental and spiritual spectrum. Some benefits will resonate more with you than others and some practices will have a stronger effect in one area of our life than another. You may find that yoga gives you what you need on and off the mat at the exact moment that you need it.
- Improved body flexibility, alignment and balance
- Enhanced overall muscular strength and tone
- Improved cardiovascular endurance (stronger heart)
- Improved stamina and strength
- Lubrication of the joints, ligaments and tendons
- Improved bone density
- Improved digestion
- Improved abdominal strength and core awareness
- Weight control
- Enhanced immune system
- Detoxification, cleansing from the inside out
- Relief from chronic physical pain
- Deepening of the breath and increased energy levels
- For women: some of the asanas (poses) have a therapeutic effect for menstrual and menopausal symptoms
- Helps release constricted muscles for better flexibility
- Look younger due to better blood circulation
- Releases muscle tension
- Improves balance
- Improves back posture which helps reduce back pain
- Enhanced ability to relax and discover the power of patience
- Calmer mind
- Better concentration
- Improved sleeping patterns
- Stress relief, thanks to controlling emotions
- Prevention and relief from stress-related disorders
- Intellectual enhancement, leading to improved decision-making skills
- Improves focus
- Calms brain activity which helps improve sleep patterns
- Reduces severity of anxiety and depression
- Life with meaning, purpose and direction
- Inner peace, tranquility and contentment
- Become inspired to revitalize your life and live more joyfully
- Age gracefully
- Deepened self-awareness
- Deepened sense of gratitude
- Yoga brings a kind of stillness that brings out one’s inner beauty
- Encourages meditation and reflection
- Strengthens sense of awareness
- Builds an appreciation for the people and experiences around you
- Cultivates mindfulness by shifting your awareness to the sensations, thoughts, and emotions
Yoga may start out as a physical practice, but if we’re dedicated to the practice, it can become a way of life. The benefits of yoga creates a shift in perspective can be extremely powerful- it reminds us that we are the captains of our own ships and we possess all the tools we need to build the best version of ourselves.
Like this post? Then you’re going to love these:
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- How To Choose the Style Of Yoga That Is Right For You
I would love to chat.
Do you practice yoga? If not, have you ever considered trying it? What benefits have you experienced from your practice?
be the best version of YOU