Yoga is a kind of magic. Regardless of why you practice, your body and brain will thank you.
For years I was a mainstream fitness kind of gal. My go-to’s: efficient and effective bits of jogging, pilates, weights, the elliptical and rowing machine. It was good to feel like I was doing something constructive and healthy.
Then one day I discovered what would become a lifelong love affair with yoga.
It’s not just some woo-woo, stretchy kind of thing. It’s a game changer. Here’s why:
- Yoga is a practice, not a perfect.
In my experience, what shows up for you on your mat is also what shows up in your life. That’s the beauty. It challenges you and every day is different depending on where you are. (That’s why it’s a practice.)
Some days are incredible; other days are challenging. Everything is learning. There’s no right way or style except the one (or more) that you’re drawn to. Thankfully, there’s no prerequisite of flexibility.
Yoga is about how you go, not how far.
- Yoga provides perspective.
Yoga is a life force within each one of us. At its root, it begins with breath and expands out to include every aspect and essence of our being. Like the ocean constantly moving, yoga permeates who we are and how we show up in life.
It’s in how we talk, parent, dream, create, love and lead.
- Yoga is universal.
Seven years ago I was chock full of preconceived notions about what yoga was and why it wouldn’t work. Fear of the unknown kept me from trying it. Jumping in was the best thing I did and it’s now the foundation of my happiness and confidence. I opened the door to yoga when our youngest started nursery school. Everything changed from there.
I discovered a captivating and winding path, and a strength I didn’t know I still had in me. I rediscovered the power of gratitude, and learned serenity was possible. I learned how to dance with open-hearted compassion and strength, helping me take proactive steps in every part of my life.
- Yoga is good for your body and brain.
This isn’t just my opinion, it’s backed up by science. Yoga reduces anxiety, depression, insomnia, back pain and other suffering. It increases flexibility, strength, balance, and endurance.
Even Scientific American touts the positive effect regular yoga practice has on our brain.
- Yoga is a great healer.
Don’t take my word for it. Wounded warrior Dan Nevins had a completely different path toward yoga than mine. His inspiring story:
Eleven years ago, an IED exploded under Dan Nevins’ army vehicle while he was serving in Iraq. Both his legs were destroyed.
When a friend suggested yoga, he was hesitant.
He said: “I was like ‘No. One, I’m a guy; Two, I’m an Army guy; Three, I don’t own any spandex, and no.’”
But he did try. “I got into this Warrior One pose. I rooted down and I felt this real surge of energy from the earth up into my body like into my soul and I shot up like ‘Oh my God, I get it’ like the earth was saying ‘where have you been the last ten years.’” — Dan Nevins
Dan Nevins is now a certified Baptiste yoga instructor leading people to their own transformation, strength, and peace. Listen to more of his powerful story here. Source: CBS News
So next time you scoff at the thought of trying it out, reconsider and be open to the possibility that it could change your life for the better. Do it because you want to lose weight. Do it because you want to make art, unleash your creative side. Do it because you feel stuck. Do it because it’s fun. Do it because you want a tighter bum and a firmer tummy. Do it for those you love. Do it for you.
Don’t worry about how far you’ll go or what you’ll look like. Just do it.
Before you know it, the ripple will take effect. Soften as you go and let the magic of yoga wash over you, regardless of your why.
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Lisa O’Brien is the CEO & Founder of Lifeyum, a business that helps individuals and organizations “relax into their greatness.” She is also a supporter of Yoga Reaches Out, a nonprofit that uses yoga to raise funds for organizations that impact the health, education and well-being of children. Lisa serves on the planning committee for Yoga Reaches Out Albany, one of only five YRO chapters nationwide.
The Albany Yogathon takes place Saturday November 14 at Siena College in Loudonville, New York. Join us or donate to support the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region, the Baptiste Foundation, and Africa Yoga Project.