Inhale Exhale – 25 Reasons To Love Yoga
I do an hour of yoga first thing every morning, which is one of my favorite things to do for the past two years because it really hits the reset button and realigns my mind and body and puts me in a beautiful calm mindset. After I finish, as I roll up my mat and start my day, I realise every single day how blessed I am and how grateful I am to be living this wonderful life that I’ve been gifted with, an able, healthy, beautiful physical body and a sharp, sound, creative mind.
Yoga does not transform the way we see things. It transforms the person who sees.BKS Iyengar
It’s crazy that I feel this way now because when I first tried yoga, as a child taught by my yoga teacher and as a teen at yoga classes, I didn’t like it this much. For most of my adult life, I loved doing cardio, I used to think that if a workout wasn’t heart pounding and sweaty, it was a waste of time. I honestly thought yoga was for older people who couldn’t do cardio or couldn’t run or had a bad back or knees. I wasn’t inflexible or ‘old’ or ‘broken’ so I just assumed it wasn’t for me. When I would try a group class, I had the hardest time slowing down and being present. Anytime I was in a pose for longer than a few seconds I was itching to keep moving. I tried faster paced yoga classes but it just felt more like aerobics. I also thought the end of class shavasana, or corpse pose, was stupid, where you lie on your mat, rest, and give yourself time to reflect on your practice. It’s funny because shavasana is technically the easiest yoga pose physically and yet the most challenging pose mentally and emotionally – you are literally just lying down – but I had found it by far the hardest, and I bet I’m probably not alone. Forcing myself to slow down and be still was HARD. My mind was always immediately back to my to do list. I didn’t have time to just lie here, for crying out loud, I had stuff to do! Basically, I didn’t get it.
.”Yoga is a light, which once lit will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter your flame.”BKS Iyengar
God, how times have changed. Shavasana is now my favorite part of yoga, and I always look forward to the time to be calm and still before getting back to the rush of normal life. I also use this time to meditate on impermanence – I actually imagine all the people I know circled around me and looking down at my lifeless body. And for some reason, conjuring up this image gives me peace. I use this 10-minute time in shavasana pose to do Yoga Nidra or guided relaxation of each part of my body, I do breathing awareness exercises, use aromatherapy, and use suggested imagery. And slowly but surely true stillness comes from deep within; when I give my weight to the floor, let gravity hold me and I allow myself to release everything I am holding onto – physically, mentally, emotionally… Undefended, uncontracted, undiluted peace.
I still love fast paced flow classes, and get my time on the cardio machine every single day but I’ve learned that embracing a more restorative practice like yoga and asanas and practicing deep breathing is just as important. I would rather miss my other types of workouts now than my yoga – I feel my body would be better served by being calm.
Just like how running has taught me that I am stronger than I think, yoga has taught me to be kind to myself. To slow down. To embrace the little things. That simply breathing in and out deeply can be amazingly calming when you are stressed out and need a break.
Yoga makes me feel more present not just during the actual practice, but also in my everyday life. I now view yoga as an opportunity; a time to stop thinking about all the crap I have to do afterwards and just enjoy focusing on strengthening my body, stretching my muscles, and quieting my mind.
Restorative, calming morning yoga has become one of my favorite things to do lately, not because I’m squeezing in a workout at the start of the day, but because of the way it leaves me feeling mentally. Relaxed, centered, present, and ready to carry on my day with a smile.
Yoga has shown me a hint of what it means to find a home within myself and within the universe. I am beginning to learn what it means to empathize, be compassionate, and what it means to truly connect with myself, the world around me, and a greater power that I do not yet know. Yoga is the pure and vulnerable embracing of life for its full, polarized spectrum. It is a foundation and catalyst for growth. Yoga keeps us curious and in wonder of all we do not know, and provides peace instead of answers. It teaches us to measure life in sensation and moments.
“The very heart of yoga practice is ‘abyhasa’ – steady effort in the direction you want to go.”Sally Kempton
My hope is that this post makes you smile, inspires you to start a yoga practice (abhyasa), I say practice because you have to make it a part of your daily life to really reap the benefits.
Here are 25 Reasons I LOVE Yoga (in no particular order)
- I love the peace I get.
- I love the power to work on myself and change my reactions to something..
- I love the core strength and toned muscles that make me feel strong.
- I love the ethical foundation it gives to my life.
- I love the way it helps me manage my energy and mood.
- I love how it’s about feeling one with the universe, embracing ahimsa and loving all life forms.
- I love to stretch creaky muscles when waking.
- I love that it’s taken away chronic back pain!
- I love that it shows me the truth.
- I love that I can’t imagine my life without it now.
- I love that it helps me be healthier.
- I love that it lowers heart rate and stress level.
- I love that it doesn’t require any equipment and I can practice it on my own, anytime, anywhere I want!
- I love that it helps me love and appreciate my body and what it can do for me.
- I love that it leaves me with a glow.
- I love that I feel like a carefree kid.
- I love how ancient and Indian it is, and how it is also a fad in other parts of the world.
- I love how it focuses on Satvik living – food, lifestyle, actions and thoughts included.
- I love how it roots me deep to my land, culture, religion and way of living.
- I love that it’s like enlightenment and epiphany catnip. Especially shavasana or corpse pose.
- I love that it has become part of me.
- I love that I look forward to it everyday.
- I love that it brings me balance.
- I love that it’s playful, practical and profound..
- I love that it helps me fall asleep at night.
Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois
”Body is not stiff. Mind is stiff.”
Tell me about your yoga practice. Why do you love yoga? Did it take you awhile to embrace it, too? Happy International Day Of Yoga.