Yoga, while an ancient practice, is much more than just a series of postures done while wearing stretchy pants!
Yoga is a practice that encompasses an entire way of life and can be practiced in a number of ways. While every practice is unique there are some amazing benefits to the practice of yoga that reach far beyond movement on the mat.
For many people the only yoga that they know is the movement focused classes they attend in studios and gyms around the world. Yoga and more specifically asana is just one limb of an eight limb path that guides and directs practitioners to an overall lifestyle change.
Meditation and Mindfulness Yoga
The benefits extend far beyond physical movement. Through incorporating meditation and mindfulness into everyday practice, the brain gains massive benefits! Increasing not only concentration but grey matter in the brain as well. These benefits are far reaching and help you out not only while you are on your mat but across every facet of your life.
While your practice belongs to you and you alone, yoga is a great place to meet like minded people. Building a strong community has been proven to benefit overall health, wellness, and ageing. Building community also helps us to understand the interdependence that we have as human beings, this knowledge helps to view everyone you encounter with a new level of compassion.
Practicing requires a strong level of commitment. Making the decision to get on your mat day in and day out is a decision that requires discipline. That discipline translates outward into other aspects of life very quickly and easily. You may even find that your regular yoga commitment leaves you feeling ready to take on even your least favourite tasks.
Yoga is an incredibly introspective and personal practice. Spending any amount of time on the mat will force you to reconcile with what arises in your mind. You may even begin to notice that the same thing keeps coming up as if it is insisting you deal with it. This time helps you to create a very deep level of self-awareness and self-inquiry.
Kindness and Compassion
It has been said that if you can not first treat yourself with kindness you will not be able to treat others with kindness. The practice of yoga allows you to practice kindness and compassion towards yourself. In being able to do this you will be more likely to approach those around you with that same level of kindness and compassion.
All that moving and twisting will add some serious benefits to your digestive system. Kicking your digestion into high gear will ultimately make you more aware of how the food you eat affects your body. This awareness may cause you to change your eating habits or opt for foods that are generally better for you.
While asana and regular movement focused activities are great for the physical body, yoga as a lifestyle practice has incredibly far reaching benefits. Each time you undertake a practice you will be walking a the path to a better life off the mat.
Yoga truly does exhibit a butterfly effect on life, each move creates a small wave of change that will have far reaching consequences throughout every aspect of your life. So tune in and see if you can find more from your yoga practice than the postures.