I’ve written quite a bit about how your yoga practice is a tool that you can use to guide you through the varying ebb and flow that is life. Yoga may start out as a simple exercise regimen, but it can lead to changes in your life on physical, mental and social levels. This is the funny thing about yoga- once you start your practice and keep it as a regular part of your life, it turns into a journey. A workout turns into a lesson. Because yoga gives you tools tohelp you navigate multiple areas of life, and soon your practice will extend beyond just the mat.
Every person is different, and every yoga practice has different effects. Notice if these five things resonate with you and your yoga journey.
Your Body just Feels….. Better!
Yoga has many benefits for the body, ranging from building physical strength to moving in ways that increase your range of motion. There are many different styles of yoga and each can strengthen the body and increase flexibility. Yoga also helps develop an awareness of your physical body, helping you to pinpoint areas of tension and utilizing tools from yoga class to release stress. Many students have told me they come to yoga to exercise, but stay around because it makes their body not just look better, but feel better as well. How has your body changed since you started your yoga practice?
You Feel Strong & Balanced
A modern lifestyle often leads to a more sedentary lifestyle which leads to detrimental effects on our health. Yoga makes you physically stronger by activating the core, arms, legs and back. A regular yoga goes beyond physical strength and helps you strengthen your mind by observing your behavioural patterns, understanding yourself and feeling more balanced in the mind and body. How does your practice help you to stay balanced?
You are More Mindful
Mindfulness is being aware and acting with intention in your life, living in the moment as much as much as you can. Yoga helps you become more mindful toward your own body and self, but it also extends beyond the mat. Your yoga practice makes you aware of your interactions with others and your environment, helping you to reflect and generally be more mindful in your everyday life.
Your Diet Gets Healthier
A funny thing starts to happen when you start doing yoga- you feel physically and mentally better, and this leads you to being mindful of your meals and eating healthfully. Yoga philosophy promotes a sattvic diet, characterized by many fresh vegetables, fruit and vegetarian. The diet is meant to calm the mind, but isn’t necessary to practice yoga. You will notice that your ability to tune into your body and what it needs affects your food choices, leading to healthier diet. How has your practice affected the way you eat and experience food?
You Take Ownership of your Practice
People try yoga for different reasons. Some are drawn to the mental benefits, others the physical benefits. Either way, most people hear that yoga is good for you. There are many styles of yoga, and each provides tools to help you explore your own practice. This suggestion only turns into a reality after you begin to take ownership of your practice. Once you learn and master yogic tools, you can get creative and begin to build your own practice, completely suited to your needs and able to adapt to changes in life. How have you owned your yoga and adapted it to your life?
Reflection is the key to assessing how yoga plays into your life, and how you can use it in the future. What changes have you noticed? Is your practice serving you as it should? Reflect, assess and take action. Your yoga practice is there to support you.