What Makes Yoga So Great?
Yoga is a fad that lots of people have been jumping in and out of over the years. I know I have. When I first started doing yoga some seven or eight years ago, I got into it for some of the more glamorous reasons – namely: flexibility. I wanted to be able to fold completely in half, and do splits, and impress people with my ability to move in those ways. It was all about what yoga could do for my physically. Everything else about it kind of weirded me out to be honest.
I fell in and out of my yoga practice, becoming impatient with the time it was taking to build flexibility, getting distracted by other fitness fads, and becoming interested in other aspects of fitness. Several years ago, when I decided that being strong and having a higher level of endurance was more important than being flexible, I started focusing my energy on other things like weight lifting and running.
Not long after that, I realized that yoga could help me accomplish all those things if I developed my practice the right way. I could be strong, and lean, and flexible, and have great endurance. So I started focusing on my practice once again. I liked the idea of being able to do cool poses, like handstands and scorpions and dancers and whatever else. Then, I again found myself inconsistent with it. Sometimes I practiced, and sometimes I didn’t. I liked doing it, but I didn’t love it.
It wasn’t until a couple years later, when I discovered meditation, that I really started to get it. I started to understand what yoga was all about, and when I decided to pick up my practice yet again, but this time, embracing every aspect of it, I finally discovered my love for yoga.
Since then, yoga has enriched my life in so many beautiful ways, and has become a more constant part of my life than ever before. Since then, the following are just some of the things that yoga has brought to my life.
Life can be pretty chaotic at times. It ebbs and flows between good times and bad times, harmony and struggle, simple and stressful. We as a species are constantly working, trying to build our lives, trying to enjoy ourselves and trying to find a balance that makes everything work. Yoga brought balance to my life, physically, mentally and emotionally. It helped me to recognize what is and isn’t important. It helped me to curb my anxieties. It helped me to build confidence. It helped me to find myself and feel better about how and where I fit in this world.
I was raised under the influence of one of the strictest, most inflexible and unyielding religions in existence; Catholicism. I grew up going to church (sometimes), going to Catechism, completing my sacraments and believing in God. And then, one day, things changed. I had some experiences and influences in my life that steered me away from God and the Catholic religion. And I stayed far away for a long time. Yoga brought a sense of spirituality back into my life, in a way that made sense to me. A way that I was capable of putting to practice. I’m kind of a whimsical person and I really don’t do well with black and white rigidity. And while I have always been spiritual, being Catholic made it hard for me to be the person that I was and am on the inside. It made me live a life that was out of balance, and that’s ultimately why I turned away from my beliefs. Thanks to yoga, I have been able to regain my spirituality in my own way, without the rigid standards that Catholicism holds, the rigid standards that I thought were a necessary part of having spiritual beliefs. Yoga taught me better.
Yoga has made me a stronger person in every way. I’m physically stronger, mentally stronger, emotionally stronger, and I’m so much more confident in myself and my own abilities. Many of the poses in yoga require a lot of strength, especially some of the more fun ones. Not just physical strength, but every aspect of strength. I can do a headstand because I have the necessary core strength needed to pull it off, the necessary patience I needed to learn how to do it, the emotional strength it took to try again and again, every time I fell, and the confidence to know that I could overcome the challenge. Yoga teaches me how to access my strengths, and in turn, I am capable of applying them to other areas of my life.
I am not a very patient person. In fact, I am what many people would call impatient. Yoga requires patience. It cannot be rushed, it cannot be forced. You have to have the dedication to develop it slowly. And I know that if I can exercise patience in my practice, I can learn to exercise patience in other areas of my life.
Through practicing yoga, I have been able to awaken the passion in my life. I have more zest and more exuberance for living and doing things that I care about. I have developed a passion for yoga that is so strong, that I want to share it with others. I want to help other people find themselves in yoga the way that I’ve been able to find myself. I want to help others awaken their passions, and strengths, and balance, and patience, and connection with the world. I believe yoga can help with many of the struggles that people experience in life like anxiety, depression, crisis, loss, poor health and so much more. That’s why this summer, I’m planning to enroll in a yoga teacher training program. So I can get certified and share my love of the practice with others.
Practicing yoga has helped me learn to deal with my own issues and struggles with anxiety and codependency and other things. I’m a happier person when I practice yoga. I’m more at peace with myself and the world and others. But it takes a lot of effort on my part for yoga to do these things for me. I have to completely immerse myself into my practice, and set intentions, and meditate, and pray. I have to think back to my practice throughout the day. Think back to my intentions. I have to let yoga help me in order to reap its benefits. And that’s how yoga brings me peace. I’m not saying that I never have struggles now that I practice yoga, but what I am saying is that I’m a hell of a lot better at dealing with them than I ever was before.