There are many reasons why one pursues the practice of yoga. Often times in the West, we are attracted to the physicality, and the potential benefits of yoga to our bodies. However, there are many other benefits of yoga that may surprise you if you allow the practice to become more in union with your everyday life.
1. Increased Compassion: The physical practice is a sure way to feel a greater sense of connection to all beings, human and animal alike. In fact, Yoga philosophy tells us that we’re all one, and understanding this concept allows the greatest of all self-realization. Yoga teaches us to see ourselves in others, and when we are able to do that, true compassion can manifest.
2. More Mindful Eating: Often times with a yoga practice, our wants and desires change. This is often noticed in what and how we eat. You may decide to ditch the fast food and grab the leafy greens instead. You may even notice yourself approaching compassion while eating, and may choose to attain a more ethical diet. This can be evident in a vegan/vegetarian diet, shopping locally and/or organically, reducing or eliminating processed foods, etc.
3. Increased Strength: Many equate yoga with increased flexibility. While you will gain increased flexibility with consistent practice, you will be surprised by the amount of strength that comes from holding and engaging in the multitude of sacred yoga postures. For example,abdominal strength comes standing balances, as the core must be engaged for these poses. Arm balances will strengthen the triceps and biceps, giving these muscles greater definition. Most standing poses improve leg strength, and practicing these poses will tone the quads and calf muscles.
4. Increased Confidence: The amazing thing about yoga for many practitioners is the feeling that they can accomplish anything. Yoga is about attaining what was once thought to be unattainable. This can be standing on your head, to decreasing negative thought patterns. Whatever it is that you are seeking, yoga will provide. You will see the perfect self that is YOU, and will quickly realize that confidence comes from knowing that all you need is within. Try standing in a Warrior Pose. You cannot help but feel strong and confident!
5. Better (sometimes different) Relationships: With compassion, strength, and confidence comes the ability to relate to others in a more effective and genuine way. Often times, we see the principle of “like attracts like” when embracing yoga, so do not be surprised if your relationships begin to align with a more yogic way of being.
If you have a personal yoga practice, what surprised you when you were a new yoga practitioner?
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