What does yoga offer?
Updated: Nov 29, 2018
You're probably thinking flexibility and strength. And you're right. But not just in the physical sense. It can have a positive impact on your entire life.
Yoga, in Sanskrit, means to completely know yourself and be in harmony. It’s a process that guides you towards freeing yourself from suffering, from doubt and confusion. The physical practice, as we know it, helps to release any tensions in the body so that the mind can rest, undisturbed.
This physical practice however, does not only keeps your body healthy, but also brings a variety of different holistic benefits to your everyday life. Here are three that I’ve noticed in my own life since I started practicing yoga.
Yoga encourages you to stay present and aware, at least for the duration of the practice. Like any other form of exercise it releases the happy hormones, endorphins, and helps you to clear your mind. The difference between other forms of exercise and a yoga class is that the teacher is there to continually remind you to check in with yourself, to notice the sensations in your body, any repetitive thought patterns and observe the quality of your breath at different points of the practice. Those gentle reminders help to bring the mind to stillness, which is what most of us need the most in our busy lives. Our galloping minds get an opportunity to rejuvenate and reset, which promotes creativity.
Over time, you can train yourself to become the observer of your own mind - off the mat, too. When you don't identify yourself with the thoughts in your head, you invite more grounding into your everyday life, and begin to understand that no situation, circumstance or emotion can ever alter your unchanging existence and core worth.
‘When you lose touch with your inner stillness you lose touch with yourself. When you lose touch with yourself you lose touch with the world. ‘ Eckhart Tolle
If you haven't yet done so today, just pause and consider how lucky you are to have a body that’s functioning in a healthy way. It’s easy to take it for granted and remain idle. After all, you’re still breathing without much effort, right?
But why not use this one incredible opportunity you have - your life - to optimise your health, explore and play with the capabilities of your body and mind?
We have infinite potential. The trick is to recognise that and work towards unlocking it. Sadly it won’t happen whilst sitting on the sofa in front of the TV. You have to come out of your comfort zone - literally and figuratively.
A yoga class is a safe space for you to inquire and uncover the mental limitations, fears or preconceptions you may have regarding yourself, your circumstances and your capabilities. As you cultivate the strength and flexibility of the mind to overcome the obstacles on your mat, you may notice changes in your attitude towards problems you face in your everyday life.
‘There is no man living who isn’t capable of doing more than he thinks he can do.’ Henry Ford
How many New Year’s resolutions have you stuck with? If you're like me, probably not too many. We live in a world of instant gratification and short-attention spans. We want things NOW, or else we get bored, demotivated. Technological advancements make it easy for us to get things as soon as the desire pops appears in our head. That ease of access often results in us being satisfied with the thing for a shorter period of time. So we’re on to the next thing, and then the next, and the next and the race for contentment never stops.
It is far more satisfying when you know you have achieved something through hard, continuous work. It takes patience, resilience and dedication to master some postures in yoga but sticking with the practice, not only keeps you sane in this fast-paced world, but also gives you a massive confidence boost when your reach your milestones.
‘The gratification comes in the doing not in the results.’ James Dean
These are only three examples of the numerous benefits yoga can have on your life, beside the physical health improvements, proven by various scientific research in the past. Yoga poses may look impressive on photos but the real yoga happens on the inside.
So are you ready for a real transformation? Are you ready for strength, flexibility, agility, aliveness and authenticity?
You've got nothing to lose! ...except a few inches off the waist, a bunch of limiting beliefs and a fear of being yourself ;)
See you on the mat!