1. Yoga urges me to look inward.
We live in a time where everyone is “busy.” Our minds are occupied with to-do lists and deadlines. Rarely do we take a moment to check in with ourselves and ask “How am I feeling?” It’s hard to imagine that I have been going about my life for so many years without asking myself a simple question. Yoga has encouraged me to become aware of my thoughts as I am practicing and also when I am not. I may get to my mat and after 15 minutes into my practice, I realize how many times the same thought has surfaced in my mind. I don’t recognize those thoughts when I’m going about my day because there are too many distractions. But when it’s just me and my mat, I am urged to look at myself from a different perspective.
2. Yoga reminds me of my breath.
When I’m nervous and my entire body is tense, a deep breath is kind of magical. When I am trying to clear my head, deep breathing is also kind of magical. When I feel like I’m about to get angry and lose it, my breath is actually magic.
3. Yoga connects me with God.
I feel gratitude, love, and peace. And I know that there is no way I am responsible for creating those feelings. They are a gift. A gift that I receive when I stop striving and just start being.
4. Yoga makes me feel physically well.
I love a good HIIT workout or weight lifting session, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes I just feel exhausted afterwards. Yoga can evoke a lot of different physical sensations, but usually I feel rejuvenated and lighter. Sometimes I feel strong and flexible. Other times I feel grounded and open. And perhaps most importantly, yoga has improved my back pain infinitely more than any other kind of exercise.
5. Yoga is freeing.
When I practice, restlessness dissipates. I am able to acknowledge my emotions instead of feeling my emotions. I give myself complete permission to let go of the day behind me or the day ahead of me. I can forget about the past and the future and simply be in the present moment. I get out of my own head, which is often the root of my negative emotions. When I stop thinking about me so much, life is just better.