6 Reasons Why Yoga is a Part of My Life
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Practicing Yoga is one of those things that people have very passionate & divisive views on. There are those who practice Yoga & love it with all their being, then there are those who hate Yoga, think it is a bit silly & have absolutely no interest in exploring the practice on a spiritual or physical level. In my experience, it is very rare to find someone whose views fall anywhere in the middle.
As a practicing Yogi, I typically run in circles filled with people who have fallen deeply in love with their Yoga practice. This is a group that I include myself in. I love practicing Yoga. I start every single day with Yoga & have a bad habit of telling everyone I find myself in conversation with about my Yoga practice. I don't mean to be obnoxious, or preachy, it's just something I feel very passionately about.
Having said that, I totally get why people are turned off by Yoga & by Yoga culture. Of course, practicing Yoga has become very "mainstream", & there are those people who will be turned off by Yoga on this basis alone. I don't understand those people AT ALL (I will never understand not liking something just because everyone else likes it), but there are perfectly valid reasons to not like Yoga. There are some facets of Yoga where individuals tend to be a bit cliquey. There are some Yogis who can develop a warped sort of superiority complex &, as my fellow contributor pointed out, there are some Yogis & Yoga teachers who just don't seem to get what Yoga is about.
As far as I can see, & of course, my view on the subject is very skewed since I am a lover of Yoga & Yoga culture, these negatives are the exception. My experience has been a positive one & a life-changing one, which is why I wanted to share my reasons for practicing Yoga.
This is Why I Practice Yoga
Yoga Helps Me Control My Thoughts
My journey is one of enlightenment. I seek to be enlightened & to be a better version of myself, each & every single day. One of my greatest challenges when it comes to self-improvement is steering my thoughts in the right direction. I want to steer my thoughts in a positive direction. I want to focus my efforts on maintaining a sunny-disposition. More than that, however, I want to focus my thoughts & energy on things that are outside of myself.
I often find myself stuck in somewhat self-involved thoughts. I tend to ruminate in thinking ahead, planning what I am going to do after work, thinking about what I want to have for dinner, focusing on how I'm feeling in an exact moment...the list of self-involved thoughts goes on & on. The world is big & I am such a small part of it. If I am focusing exclusively on what is happening within my orbit, I'm closing my mind to possibilities & growth.
When I am practicing Yoga, I am able to maintain a firm grasp on my thoughts. With my thoughts under control, I am able to focus my mind's eye outward. I can concentrate on others. I can think about the world as a big picture. With Yoga, I am able to practice higher level thinking & focus my thoughts & energy on being the person I want to be.
Yoga Helps Me Make Better Choices
While the merits of drinking alcohol are hotly debated in the media, in my life, I hold myself to a pretty high-standard when it comes to making healthy decisions. I want to be mindful of what I put inside my body, whether that is alcohol, a bag of chips, a really greasy slice of pizza or what have you.
While I spent years indulging in poor eating & lifestyle choices as a teen & young adult, now as a thirty-something, I know the consequences of binge eating, binge drinking & not caring for myself. With the consequences clear in my mind, I endeavour not to "indulge" anymore. Yoga helps me in this area A LOT.
By practicing Yoga, I focus a lot of my effort on caring for myself. Not only that, but as a Yoga-addict, I am constantly surrounded by other Yoga-addicts and "health nuts", all of whom tend to be positive influences on me. Without sounding too hippy-dippy, Yoga helps me take take care of my outside self & endows me with the techniques & influences necessary to take care of my inside self.
Yoga Helps Me Keep My Cool
In general, I'm a pretty even-tempered person, but there are instances where I have been known to lose my cool. It's not something I am proud of, but there was one occasion when I told a Starbuck's barista she'd ruined my day because she made me a mocha instead of a white-mocha (I'm so, SO sorry to that barista, by the way). I've also gotten angry with my husband without meaning to, shouted at other drives & yelled profanities at my couch after stubbing my toe.
Since I began practicing Yoga, I'm a much more laid back person. This has a lot to do with the ideals espoused within the Yoga community, but has even more to do with how good I feel after a good workout, stretch & meditation session. Through Yoga, I have discovered a tool that helps me let go of stress & this has made me a much more tolerable, calm & kind person in general.
Yoga Helps Me Focus
I, like a lot of people, have a pretty active mind. Even when I'm sitting still, thoughts & plans are flying through my head, non-stop, at a million miles per hour. With all the commotion up there, it tends to be a pretty cluttered & high-stress place. When I have a work deadline, or something that I really need to concentrate on, these high-speed thoughts get in the way.
Since beginning my Yoga practice, I have learned to calm my mind & clear my head. I've been doing this for so long now, that this behaviour has become habitual for me. I don't need to force myself to concentrate anymore, I'm just able to slow myself down & concentrate on the task ahead of me.
Yoga Makes Me Feel Healthy & Strong
Before I started my own Yoga practice, I thought Yoga was just stretching. I was a dedicated gym rat at the time & I turned up my nose at the idea of practicing Yoga for my health or fitness. In my mind, there was no way Yoga could do anything useful for my body that weights & cardio couldn't do.
I have to say, on this account, I was so, SO wrong. My Yoga practice has lead me to developing far more strength than any other workout program I have tried. Also, for times when I still want to hit the gym & work my body to the bone, I find Yoga fits seamlessly into my workout regimen.
Yoga Connects Me to My Spiritual Side
I don't know where you fall on the whole religion spectrum & to be honest, what you believe is completely up to you. For me, I can't help but believe there is something bigger than us. This might be wishful thinking, or maybe something in my life has lead me to believe this. I don't know. Either way, I am open to believe in divinity.
When I practice Yoga, I feel much more in tune with this side of myself. This side of myself is the one that believes in the power of positivity, sees energy in every living thing & believes in the idea that, what you put out into the universe, comes back to you. I don't really think it matters if my thoughts on divinity are accurate or not. I think it just matters that being in tune with this side of myself makes me feel good & when I feel good, I am fill with the propensity to positively impact others as well.
All of this being said,I suppose I could sum up why I practice Yoga by saying it makes me a better person. Inside & out, I feel better because of Yoga.
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