Whether you choose to practice a strong vinyasa or gentle hatha yoga practice, you know yoga can change your body, but do you know how It can change your life?
Ever wonder why teachers keep reminding you to breathe? It’s not just because you sometimes hold your breath in challenging postures. The main reason is to keep bringing you back to the present moment and away from your thoughts.
Yoga makes you aware of how your mind is racing almost all the time. Sometimes racing from thought to thought without a break all day, every day, missing what’s happening around you. You drive to work or school so lost in your thoughts that you sometimes arrive not knowing how you got there!
Once you can see the busyness of your mind, you also start to notice how repetitive and negative your thoughts often are. Part of your practice then is to not necessarily turn these negative thoughts into positive thoughts, but neutralize them to find a calmer state of being.
Comfort in Discomfort
Life can be uncomfortable and so is holding Warrior II for a few minutes. The holding of postures that are painful, but beneficial to your body teaches you the power of resilience and non-reaction. You are going to face challenges every day. If you can learn to see them for what they are and not react to them, you can instead choose how to react in a healthful, productive way. This can help in so many ways, from living with painful body conditions or restrictions to handling unexpected life circumstances like losing your job or ending a relationship.
A Like-Minded Community
Yoga can also give you comfort in knowing that you are not alone in this world. The yoga community is filled with people of all shapes, sizes, races and religion and we give each other strength by acknowledging that we all have the same insecurities and fears. Not only that, but we are all practicing, whether consciously or unconsciously, to feel less alone and more at peace with ourselves and our surroundings. Being in this type of community will improve your life because when you surround yourself with calm and compassionate people, those qualities will start to emerge in you.
With a calmer and more flexible mind, you start to rediscover your passions in life and start making time for them. You stop pushing off dream vacations. You let go of old resentment. You basically realize you are awake and not sleep walking through your life anymore. You want to do things and finally stop making excuses for putting them off. This is why so many people make major life changes after practicing yoga.
Yoga helps you see that making time to better yourself physically and mentally is not selfish, but selfless. When you start to truly care for yourself, your life improvements will positively affect your family and friends more than you could have imagined. Your new found presence and health will also attract amazing people and opportunities into your life.