The journey and joy of taking part in yoga as well as becoming part of the lifestyle of practice can be full of hurdles and challenges. Instead of focusing on what you cannot do, let’s focus on what you can and will gain from regular yoga practice. At first, the poses and sequences can be…well…a little overwhelming. You will spend more time watching everyone else than actually doing yoga! Once you learn and acclimate to the flow of different classes and enjoy the benefits, you will find that a life long practice can take hold offering peace and tranquillity amongst the hectic and anxious world around you.
Here are 15 things that happen when you get into yoga.
Stress is an inevitable part of life, however being able to monitor it with breath and introspection can change the outcome of many situations. Ideally stress will begin to subside with the tools discovered in yoga. You will gain control over your thoughts and learn to embrace the serenity of your own mind!
Over time the body will become stronger and yoga poses will feel much more accessible. Flexibility may be an issue at first, but the joy is the journey. Discovering body awareness and incorporating appropriate cues from instructors can take a practice to another level. Yoga will never be easy, however the body builds up strength to support the practice in time. Certain daily activities that felt difficult before will get easier. Yoga is not about outperforming the person next to you.
Although many people do not initially turn to yoga for weight loss, it is a surprising bonus. After yoga you can nourish your body with nutritious foods and find that you will have more control over the temptation of heavy foods that are easy to overindulge on.
Finding something that gives you that ‘buzz’ of good vibes is hard to find these days. Some run for hours, others lift weights while many turn to food or alcohol. Regular practice of yoga has been shown to improve the “feel good” hormones in the brain (Endorphins and Serotonin) that are similar to eating your favourite meal. Happiness can be easily accessible with the right mindset that yoga teaches!
Changing your environment can really aid your quest to relieve yourself of toxic relationships and what makes you unhappy. Surrounding yourself with likeminded people who are there for similar reasons to yourself will have an incredibly positive impact on your life in more ways than just flexibility.
Some people have been known to try vegan or vegetarianism at least once. There are teachers that promote non-harming and compassion to living beings with emphasis on a plant based diet. Some bodies can handle not having meat while other bodies need it. The best advice is to do what fits for the individual. What works for one, may not work for all. Ask a doctor if uncertainty arises with diet. This links back to change. You may find you begin to eat for nutrition rather than fulfilment.
Many of the postures in yoga strengthen the spine and the muscles surrounding the spine. The majority of the work is to maintain a tall spine in each pose. A great yoga class will train the practitioner to take daily habits such as a hunched over body out of the practice. Overtime, students will learn techniques on how to carry the body in everyday life. Some yoga poses and classes strengthen the abdominals, which improve the posture quite a bit. Better posture also means less headaches and sore shoulders after a long day.
There are so many poses and ideologies in yoga that make the practice a lifelong journey. There is always another variation to achieve or a style to discover. One of the most gratifying feelings is when accomplishing a posture that seemed so difficult in the past. Noticing changes in the body and advancement in the practice gives a person that confidence they may have been searching for. Whether it is an inversion/arm balance or holding plank pose for an extended period of time, these small achievements ignite a positive sense of self.
Bringing attention to areas of a person’s life that may have gone unnoticed in the past is the first step toward mindfulness. Being present, focusing on the moment and being grateful for something small can be highly rewarding. Shedding light on these little moments that are overlooked so often can change how life is lived in a positive way.
In time, tight muscles will release. That stiff and achy feeling when getting out of bed or right into downward facing dog won’t be as common. All bodies are different. Some people are extremely flexible and hypermobile, while other’s bone structure won’t allow for a super flexible practice. Finding the appropriate flexibility for each body type is the healthier way to think about it. Remember, flexibility comes in time. Enjoy the journey and subtle improvements every week.
The yoga practice can become addictive because of the mental relief it offers practitioners. Yoga is a lifetime practice with so many different postures, variations, and lineages. Some people practice intensely on a consistent basis to achieve their goals faster. Not every obsession is bad. Obsession with regular yoga practice can mean you make more time for yourself, rather than the tv, or ensuring you leave work on time to look after yourself.
Depending on which route is traveled in the yoga world; learning about the body is an incredible discovery. Can you realise when your back is a little bent during downward dog? As you continue your practice, you will be able to understand where your own body is and self-fix. A fantastic step to your own improvement
Life can be very hectic and stressful with to-do lists and priorities. The mind eventually becomes cluttered putting up roadblocks in our path to clarity. The physical yoga practice is helpful with clearing the mind, however the meditative aspects of yoga can change thoughts drastically. A daily meditation practice is known to clear the mind and bring clarity to situations in which we feel limited.
Depending on the person, there will be interest in becoming a yoga instructor. Even if teaching isn’t the goal, some become certified to understand the practice on a deeper level. Spirituality is a huge part of the path of yoga. Studying yogic philosophy or reading up on spiritual teachings can help. Learning more about who you are as a person is a growth process unlike anything else.
Yoga can turn a person’s world upside-down, literally and figuratively. Diving into a yoga practice in order to gain wisdom, peace, and physical strength is one of life’s best-kept secrets. As time goes on, life will continue to change for the better with the help of a little thing called yoga. Surrounded by people who appreciate you being there, encourage you to be better and support you when you feel low is an inescapable part of yoga life!