I am asked so often about why I do yoga, why other people should do it, and what it can do for them. One of the first things I tell people is that the reasons that I started and continue to do yoga are very personal, just as it should be for them.
It’s not that I don’t share those reasons when I’m talking with people one on one, but the point I try to make is that yoga is different for everyone.
Yes, there are visible physical benefits to yoga, but for me it quickly became so much more than that. It is that part of yoga that led me to want to be a teacher, the part where I could introduce the non-visible parts of yoga to anyone who would listen.
Here are five of the greatest reasons to practice yoga.
1. Yoga has tremendous physical benefits.
Practicing intensive yoga formats such as Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Hot Vinyasa, and other forms of Power yoga will absolutely make changes in your body. You could lose weight, and you will most definitely strengthen and tone.
What you won’t see coming is that as your body grows stronger, so will your mind. You will develop increased focus, patience, and self-awareness. You will probably also find yourself wanting to know more about yoga, which means you will research it, and as a result become objectively smarter, too.
2. Yoga relieves stress.
You will learn to BREATHE differently in yoga and you will learn to use that breath in everyday situations. The saying “take a deep breath” is much more than a saying as you come to understand how breath gives you the power to control your emotions in many situations, including moments of stress.
What you won’t see coming is that you will soon unconsciously be breathing in situations before you react…and that can mean the difference between having an argument and using mental and emotional clarity to reach a solution.
3. Yoga relieves pain.
I want to be very careful with this point, and not to be self-serving as a yoga teacher looking for pay. Yoga practiced under the guidance of a knowledgeable, trained teacher can be used as an alternative form of pain management.
Numerous studies have proven the effects of yoga on patients with back pain, arthritis, difficult pregnancies, headaches, heart disease, and so much more. Even athletes who practice Yin or Restorative yoga will find that their injuries and post-workout soreness will greatly diminish.
What you won’t see coming is that yoga will also benefit “pains” in your body you may not even be aware of. Your digestive system will be energized and cleansed, your circulation will improve, and your joints will become more limber and lubricated.
Plus, yoga will build your immunity, which also means less days of pain from colds, the flu, and other illnesses.
4. Yoga can connect you to the Divine of your choosing.
So much of yoga practice is more than just the asanas (postures). The calmness, the Namastes, the calls to relaxation, reflection, and meditation and will soon have you thinking and feeling more “spiritual.” If that is a scary word to you, please just take a minute to keep reading.
Spiritual can mean many things: it can mean being more centered, it can mean being religious, it can mean being connected to the Universe, or it can just mean being more reverent in whatever way you want to be—with nature, with your religion, with your time, with things that have meaning to you.
What you won’t see coming is that you will begin seeing the world around you differently. You will become introspective, yes, but at the same time, you will want to begin bringing more happiness and positivity into your world.
It won’t stop there. Your happiness and positivity will extend out to those around you—and we all know the world can use more happiness and positivity.
5. Yoga will give you 60 minutes of time for just you.
While that may sound selfish, when you really think about it, how much time do you ever give yourself to disconnect and just be? Unless you march to the beat of a different drum and already do yoga, you are probably listening, talking, planning, watching, reading, or typing most of your day.
For 60 minutes, you can step on a mat to breathe deeply into your body to either sort everything out or to let it all go. It’s 60 minutes that will help make you a better person, mentally and physically.
What you won’t see coming is that at first, 60 minutes a few days a week may seem like a long time, but before you know it, 60 minutes six days a week won’t be enough. You will want to realign your life so that you will always have space for yoga.