Yoga combines mindfulness, breathing and physical movements and, with regular practice, offers many health benefits. People doing Yoga report better sleep, better posture and well-toned muscles as well increased energy levels.
By moving the body regularly, our often-shortened muscles are freed from pain and stiffness. Blood circulation, as well as the circulation of all the others body fluids like the lymph, improves and, after a while, we feel better general health. The strong focus on the breathing aspect in Yoga can benefit heart rate and blood pressure and help rebalancing imbalances within our systems. Or that’s the theory anyway!
Personally, I have learned and changed a lot since starting Yoga and can confirm that Yoga helps me to feel better. The funny thing is that I didn’t know that I could feel this good and doubted the Yoga people who said things like that. To be honest, the biggest thing I learned was how being honest and patient with myself and increasing the ability to accept helped me feel so much better about myself and my place in the world.
I think it’s important to tell you that I’m not a monk and I don’t live on a mountain top where I spend all my days meditating! I’m just like you and have found the middle path that keeps me happy and healthy. I’m not a vegan, I drink coffee, eat cake, and enjoy a good glass of wine now and then.
I’m not a vegan, I drink coffee, eat cake, and enjoy a good glass of wine now and then.
In my opinion, everybody should find their own well balanced, healthy and happy lifestyle by listening carefully and honestly to their own body and mind which is the only true inner teacher. For me, the best way to find this out is Yoga as it has a very old but timeless holistic approach that can be perfectly adjusted to our modern lives.
Where has my Yoga practice has taken me? I think I am much more grounded having learned that inner peace begins within myself, and that helps me to take the drama out of my life.
Drama, stress, anger – call it what you will. Many of these things happen against our will and even without our conscious knowledge. By becoming more self-aware, I have found that I feel less unbalanced and situations that used to cause me problems are no longer the issue they were. I acknowledge them for what they are but then control my response.
You may not realize this during practice, when you are working hard to maintain your posture and remembering to breathe, but when you get into the outside world again, you will often find you can use this same mindfulness and control to stay calm during a stressful situation and observe the bigger picture.
To give an example of how what you learn on the Yoga mat can help your everyday life, imagine standing in a tree pose but finding that your balance is not working well. Your supporting leg is aching and you aren’t happy with your practice. Now imagine your teacher talking to you in a calm and motivating way, telling you that not every day is a good balance day, and that even big trees are shaken when it is windy outside.
Maybe you are struck by hearing the teacher say that you will survive because, in nature, the wind will pass and trees usually won’t lose their roots.
Or maybe you will realize that, with practice, by concentrating on your set up, and by being mindful of everything about tree pose, what was once hard becomes much easier and you take comfort from that.
Having experienced these things in Yoga, you’ll soon find that learned that these principles work in your everyday life too and helps you to withstand uncomfortable or difficult situations by staying calm and staying mindfully aware.
I’m convinced that a regular Yoga practice can help make life easier and less stressful. It can help you to control your ego, allow you to see the bigger picture, and therefore act in a more composed way.
Yoga can help with taking things seriously but not too seriously. Yoga teaches us to find the balance between engagement and relaxation during the physical practice and thereby teaches us to find better balance in our daily lives.