I absolutely LOVE yoga. I am not an amazing yogi and I only manage to make it to about 1 class per week (on a good week), but the way I feel when I am in a class is incomparable much else. Especially in the winter months, when finding outdoor meditation spaces is limited, yoga brings me to a space of inner peace.There are so many ways to works towards staying in the present moment, but yoga seems to do this for you. Yoga really takes the work out of practicing mindfulness. It is almost impossible to be anywhere but the present when engaging in yoga practice. The connection between mind and body is such that you are only thinking about what your body is doing, feeling, breathing etc. and little else matters during the time of practice.
After starting at a new studio that had been recommended by a friend some time ago, I asked him if he was still attending this studio. His answer was upsetting to me in that he said that he was not in the right mental state to practice yoga anymore. I thought a lot about this, as it seems counterintuitive. Isn’t that the exact reason to practice yoga? Because somehow our mental state has taken us away from the place of mindfulness and focus and our minds feel jumbled or in chaos? Similarly, I often hear people say that they will get back into yoga once they have “lost 10 lbs” or something similar. My thought on this is much the same: You can actually lose weight while doing yoga, but even more important, you do not have to be a certain body weight, type, etc to enjoy and reap the benefits of yoga. In so many ways yoga helps us to relax, feel more comfortable in our own skin, and improve overall self-esteem…things that help us to make healthier choices every day.
This is maybe the thing I love most about yoga, regardless of what type you practice (I tend to jump around a bit, but always come back to Vinyasa), it is completely forgiving of all imperfections. You only do as much as you are able to do in that moment and there are so many modifiers that you can always find something at your level. It teaches us to be humble and accept the moments when we are not the best at something, while also allowing us to celebrate the moments in which we can accomplish something new.
The most valuable thing or takeaway message for my practice of yoga and the thing that keeps me coming back to it, is the feeling of rejuvination and peace that I feel after finishing Savasana, rolling up my mat and feeling the outside air on my face. If I was tired when I got there, I am no longer tired, but rather peaceful but energized. If I was anxious or worried, I have a fresh outlook and feel as though I have a clearer view. While feeling rejuvinated, I still feel as though I can go home and sleep if need be and the sleep is much easier and more peaceful than on other days. I love all forms of fitness and am better at some than others, but yoga provides more than just increased heart rate and stronger muscles; it also provides a true sense of well-being that you can carry with you throughout your day and your life.