Yoga can actually change your life. There, I said it. Think I am crazy or brainwashed or something? Maybe. Maybe not.
In our westernized society, #yoga is mostly viewed as either a fitness activity designed to improve one’s flexibility and strength, or a relaxation practiced with napping as a main goal (#teamsavasana). But, as you might have read in one of my previous article, yoga is both and neither at the same time. I think that yoga is insidiously powerful ; you start going to your yoga class once a week, just to check what the fuss is all about, thinking that it is probably too slow or too hard for you, and you end up feeling so great, that you come back again, and again, and again #truestory. What is this magic? Well, yoga is a much deeper practice than a regular aerobic class. It’s lined with a solid, thick and warm layer of beautiful philosophy that a great teacher will naturally pass on to you, gently shifting your whole life on the way, for the better.
Here are 4 ways yoga might change your life.
1. The relationship with your body
We all carry that beautiful house of flesh around and sometimes, we sure wish that it was different. We wish it would be a certain way, look like a certain someone’s, be able to do certain things. In order to feel better about it, we tend to push it further and further, without even paying attention to its response. Or, we tend to give up and poorly take care of it because “ it won’t change anything anyway ”. Yoga teaches you to respect all the edges and corners of that body and to give it some love. It teaches you to listen to it and truly make it your own and embrace it, instead of trying to forcefully hammer some sense into it. It teaches you that it’s ok to respect the limits of it, and to work in sync with how it is right now, not how it used to be, nor how you wish it would be. And before you know it, you became stronger both mentally and physically!
2, The way you breathe
One of the keys to yoga is breathing. Yes that good old thing you absolutely need to do in order to, well, live. Yoga shows you how to deeply and mindfully breathe to nourish every single cell of your beautiful body. Not only does this practice promote a healthy way of breathing, but it also teaches you how to use that breath to calm your nervous system down and to assist your body in moving in a meaningful, safe and aware manner. The best thing is, that you can go on with your life outside the yoga mat, and still carry that peacefully intentional breath you found during class wherever you go, whatever you do.
3. Your overall long-term physical well being
It’s no secret that yoga is nested in a well being movement that has bloomed significantly over the last decades. The way the practice is designed and performed allows you to improve your vital functions (like breathing) as well as your physical condition. By stretching, strengthening, engaging, opening and lengthening your whole musculo-skeletal system, yoga helps you to improve your mobility, flexibility and stability. Maybe that doesn’t mean a lot to you in a short-term perspective, but in the long-term, all these qualities will help you maintaining and/or improve your posture. That means your body will be able to continue functioning in a healthy way, and that you’ll be able to walk upright, without a walker, despite the ruthless aging process. So, bye bye computer-induced hunched back, and smartphone-addicted neck, hello fluid movement and upright standing at 90 years old!
4.Your approach towards stress
This is probably, in my opinion, the biggest learning yoga is there to teach you : to stay in the present moment, and therefore, limiting unfortunate encounters with stress. It teaches you to flip your perspective on stressful situations and realize that they might not be as horrible as they first appear. Yoga teaches you to breathe our way through uncomfortably shaky physical situations, aka poses which make you feel like you wanna cry/scream/fall/shake/run away, and then, translate that to your everyday life. Using the tools you learn in yoga can really help you float from a dark mental room full of fear, stress and ugly thoughts, to a calmer, more quiet and peaceful wide open space. The fun part is that, the space gets clearer and clearer, brighter and brighter, with practice.
This is how yoga can change your life, absolutely no prerequisite necessary!
Do you already practice yoga? I want to know, how is it changing your life?