There was a point in my life where I was in a terrible place with my body — I had been working a night job and doing a lot of traveling that I had no intention of continuing. And there were periods in my life I was really struggling, and I was pretty sure that I wasn’t going to be able to continue. And then I had the opportunity to go to a yoga class, and I instantly knew that yoga was something that I could do to support me in my quest for health and to make sure that I don’t end up in the hospital again. I had been a little skeptical of the whole thing, but once I took my first class, I realized that it was really something I could get into with a little bit of commitment and a lot of persistence.
Here are seven awesome things that happen every time I do yoga, which you can also experience when you take up this ancient spiritual practice and mind-body workout.
You learn to trust your body
After a week of practicing yoga, you’ll become comfortable with how much you can breathe and stand in each pose. And you’ll be amazed at the changes—especially the lack of pain and soreness. This level of trust is the key to yoga. Not every posture will work like the one you just practiced, but most of them will. The main trick to getting back into a pose is to focus on breathing and feeling the body relax.
You’ll build resilience
After an intense session, you’ll feel great for a couple of days. But then the pain starts. That day, you may not even be able to stand. It’ll feel like your body is trying to tell you to stop, so you’ll start to push harder against your body. A bit of stress and tension will help build muscle and strengthen ligaments, which translates to less pain, a little more flexibility, and a bit better energy. The more you keep going, the more strength and grit you create and the less you struggle with pain. Thanks to the practice, our bodies get better at resisting pain and improving flexibility. The more yoga you do the more resilience and strength you will create.
You learn some new skills
I used to feel like I was always struggling to figure out how to do my yoga poses. Now I think, “Well, if I were struggling to do my poses, who else would?” I also now have fewer worries. I’m more like, “Okay, let’s do it now. We’re just making this shape with my body.” I’m taking it all in stride, so I’m better for it.
You gain confidence
While you’re doing a yoga workout, take deep breaths, and imagine having a conversation with your body. Tell yourself you are doing great, and if you focus and concentrate, you can rock out this yoga pose. It’s okay to struggle, but you know you are going to get there. There’s no shame or feeling sorry for your lack of progress. Don’t give in to the feeling that you’re not ready or not doing well enough in your yoga poses or when you’re feeling down, the same way you don’t give up on a sport in the first place. It’s okay to feel small at first, take a full yogic breath and go for it.
The only thing holding you back is the fear of hurting yourself. If you want to continue practicing and grow, stop putting the barrier between you and the exercise, and just do it! And once you do your yoga poses, just focus on breathing and focus on the feeling you have when you’re in each pose.
You learn to appreciate your body
I’m a big believer in giving your body time to work. You want to get the maximum value out of your yoga class. The studio is where the most intense stuff is done, so you will be working your yoga legs, arms, chest, back, and shoulders, while all your body can do, is going about its regular routine. The best way to help your body work at high intensity is by spending it in the yoga studio.
You do away with old and redundant problems
Thanks to the practice, I got rid of back pain (thanks to the reduction of tension in my back muscles and strengthening in my core). I also no longer needed to buy thousands of dollars of useless stuff I didn’t really need. I’ve found myself content and happy with all that I had, and this gave me a little bit more freedom and the ability to feel like myself.
You learn mindfulness and self-care
Because of the practice, I’m no longer worried about the next thing. Because of the yoga training, I’m able to concentrate on my current task, and not worry about whether I’ll fail. As a result, I am able to do much more than before. You learn to stop thinking, to live in the present moment, to feel your heart in the present moment. Yoga, being about mindfulness, increases inner peace through meditation. You learn to act without judgment and have compassion for people. You start to love people and to trust them.
Every person can be a yogi. The challenge is to practice, be present, and slowly evolve. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you will feel like there is something to discover every single day you step on your yoga mat. From here, there are many things you can learn – if you take the time to master the yoga basics.