Though it may seem like a recent fad for our generation, yoga has been around for over five thousand years. Its roots begin in India, some tying it to the Hindu religion. The names of the poses are written in Sanskrit, an ancient Hindu language used in various scriptures and poems. But to clear up any confusion, yoga is not a religion, nor must you be religious to practice. Some of the pioneers of the practice, including Sri K Pattabhi Jois and BKS Iyengar helped to shape yoga into what it is today.
There’s no doubt that the yoga practice has healing properties, there’s more to yoga than just the poses. Sure from the outside it may look like a cult; we yogis and yoginis are all obsessed and constantly vouching for those down-dogs and our newfound meaning of life. I guarantee you that what happens within is so much more fascinating and rewarding than what happens without.
Yoga calms the mind.
From birth, we are forced to tread quickly through life and meet a number of agendas. We need time to get away and recuperate, to rest. Yoga is a freeing practice in every sense of the word. It has strong ties to meditation; you will find that each breath and each movement has purpose.
Ever noticed that when we’re stressed or angry, we are told to take deep, slow breaths? That’s because they force us to let go. And expect to do a LOT of breathing through yoga.
Yoga allows you to open the heart.
I’ll give you a fair warning: yoga will change you. If you did not wear your heart on your sleeve before, then get ready to start. Once you have begun your journey into yoga, you will find yourself spreading and showing more love than hate. The newfound happiness and contentedness you feel towards yourself and others will shine right through your eyes.
A friend of mine messaged me recently saying how much improvement she’s seen in my own yoga journey (I share it with the world of Instagram). She commented on how much happier and more positive I seemed the deeper I fell into the practice.
You open up your heart figuratively and literally. There are a number of poses within the practice designed to compel you to do just that.
You become more flexible in mind and body.
There’s no doubt that with the yoga practice comes your eventual ability to fold yourself up into a pretzel. Your body isn’t the only thing that gets to be more flexible.
Yoga practitioners learn to look at life and its challenges from a new angle. Through continuous devotion, you learn to understand everything around you, and in turn, you are more accepting. Things outside of your control seem less problematic, and the goals you set for yourself seem much more attainable.
You’ll be doing splits and backbends in no time. But you’ll find that it’s not about the destination so much as it is the journey.
You learn to accept yourself.
Whether you’re attending a yoga class or streaming an online version of some of your favorite yogis, you are constantly being told to feel the senses without judgement. With time, you see that there is more to you than the material things. You start to embrace your flaws and you begin to realize that what’s inside is far more important.
Anyone can do it!
The practice does not discriminate in any way whatsoever. Regardless of size, shape, gender, age, race, and skill level, yoga is a practice built for anyone who is ready and willing to try it. Don’t let self-doubt prevent you from embarking on a journey that will completely transform the way you look at life.
There are many styles of yoga out there that’ll satisfy whatever it is you’re looking for through yoga: core strength, flexibility, mindfulness and meditation, etc. Work at your own pace and in time, you’ll find that the yoga practice is one you’ve been looking for a lifetime!