BY: TRISHA CURLING

You might hear a lot of people say “yoga changed my life”.If you aren’t a regular practitioner, this may sound questionable. How can a series of poses “change your life”? It sounds a little dramatic. It’s important to start from a place however, where you understand that yoga is more than a series poses. Within the journey of physical practice, there are many lessons that are waiting to be learned. It really does have this ability to make this change in your life, but you must first be open to it.

Let’s say your desire to start comes from a place in you that is purely physical, this is great because there are many benefits to receive like weight management, relief from pain, and increased mobility (just to name a few).

Let’s examine some of the ways your physical (asana) practice can have an impact in other ways:

Patience

Your asana practice calls for you to detach from your ego. Yes, the practice is in many ways goal oriented, but staying in the present and feeling the pose for what it is in the moment has its’ own way of taking you where you need to be.It’s nice to set goals of achieving particular poses and it is very rewarding to see how your body’s ability can change, but it’s the patience to get there that may be challenging or even frustrating sometimes. It’s putting the time and consistency into performing foundational poses that will help you to build the necessary skills, and/or prepare your body for what’s to come next. If you come back to what the practice is asking you, to detach, to exercise patience, then what you desire will come to you. We can take this lesson off of the mat.If you are working towards a career, or some type of financial goal, being present and taking time to take the necessary steps will only help you to build the proper foundation in order for you to have lasting results.

Reduce worry

For that hour you may spend doing an online or in person yoga class, it truly feels like meditation. You are so focused on your breath, the transitions, and the poses, that you have no time to focus on past or future events. You are totally engrossed in the moment. It feels great, there is no room for worry. A beautiful shift happens once you realize that it does not have to end when the class is over. This deep work that you are doing on the mat creates new patterns in the brain and nervous system. You are effectively teaching yourself how to do this more often. It becomes more natural in other life situations to bring your focus into the present. It does feel difficult sometimes, but just the mere awareness and then attempt to do so will help you to gain perspective in certain situations. Instead of worrying about what may happen, you learn to relinquish some control of the outcome.

Both of these things barely skim the surface of the benefits you take with you off of the mat, but I’m sure you can imagine the spillover into multiple areas of life.

Go to the mat for one reason and walk away feeling the benefit of many.

Story first appeared at torontocaribbean.com

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