When I was younger, I used to think that yoga is for the cool chicks. They are the busy ones who work in a suit, got gorgeous & toned body and they have balanced life. Like they got patience & flexibility and I wanted that! I also want to be bendy & flexible and unfortunately, I don’t have the slightest idea of what yoga really is.
Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India.
To simply put it, yoga is not limited to asanas or poses & meditation. It is a way of life. And while I don’t practice it as a way of life, I’ve personally gained benefits from the physical practice of yoga.
Derived from the Sanskrit word yuj, YOGA means union of the individual consciousness or soul with the Universal Consciousness or Spirit.
My first attempt to practice yoga was in 2010 and due to lack of understanding of the basics, I actually hurt my back that I decided not continue it after 2 sessions. Fast forward to 2017, I tried again but this time, it’s one step at a time.
7 Reasons Why I Do Yoga
1. It is a good form of workout.
It may not be as intense as your typical cardio like running or elliptical but it requires focus & strength in order to properly transition from one position to another. There are different types of yoga that you can practice and there are variations for the poses. So there’s no problem if you’re a beginner or if you got limited range. Just like any other exercise, you will improve as you practice. But always be cautious and mindful of your moves because if not done properly, it can also harm you.
This is a before & after photo of my seated forward bend progression and within one month of regular practice, it does make a difference.
2. I get to understand my body.
Yoga helped me understand my body’s capabilities & limitations. I used to desire to be flexible but now I understand that increasing mobility is more important because it affects your daily life. I learned to listen and work with my body; I get to understand its great potentials but most importantly, its limitations.
MOBILITY – the functional flexibility that makes it easier for you to complete everyday movements that require kneeling, bending or reaching–or maybe just cramming into a tiny airplane seat. Yoga increases mobility so that you can bring more ease to your movement and don’t feel so stuck in your body.
3. It helps me feel calm & relaxed.
If there are some basic truths about my personality, it’ll be that I’m a control freak & an uptight human being. I’m not ashamed to admit it because I got a borderline, Type A personality and working in a corporate world where you have to shine & push your way thru to be noticed, you gotta do what you have to do. But now that I’m no longer part of that world, I learned to become more relaxed. Yet, when the time comes that I feel powerless over things, I get tensed and it’ll, later on, affect my entire mood.
This is the part where yoga comes in. With every practice, you start & end every session with a breathing exercise and without knowing it, you start to apply it in your life. When I’m in an overwhelming situation, I’m reminded to take one step at a time. If you need to take a step back, do it. Listen, analyse, observe & then take action.
4. It teaches me humility.
In my previous Instagram post, I mentioned that PRIDE and EGO are 2 of my worse traits, but like I said, I’m learning how to let go. Practicing yoga made me realise that I know nothing and I’m amazed by everything. I’ve come to terms with myself that this is a whole new universe that I want to be part of and for me to absorb everything, I should start with humility.
Seated Heart Opener Pose
5. It helps in managing pains.
I won’t get tired saying how 15-20 minutes of practice or just a quick stretch can make a difference on your day. But on days when I feel shoulder pains, lower back pains or menstrual cramps, I would do a set of positions for at least 10 minutes and it eases the pain.
Upward Dog Pose
6. Yoga improves my posture.
I’m chesty so a young lady, I became very conscious & a bit embarrassed to actually do the proper posture because I’m afraid that people will notice my chest before my face. As a result, I would slouch & get used to the poor posture. But now, with more confidence & prioritising my health & body, I become more aware of the importance of proper posture. And my physical practice of yoga played a big part on that.
7. It’s a lovely community.
I haven’t attended a proper yoga class and everything that I learned are basically from professional & self-taught yoga instructors thru their Youtube channels & Instagram accounts. I’m also participating in some yoga challenges on IG and it helps a lot especially for beginners. But like a student, you should also do your part – read & research. But the communities are kind and very supportive. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You can learn a lot while interacting & you can gain new friends across the globe.
Half Moon Pose with a yoga block
Doing yoga was actually on my bucket list but having to understand at least the physical aspect of yoga made me realise that I was wrong all this time. Seeing the majestic poses on social media made me want to imitate them & post it on my feed. In short, I desired for what the eyes can see; it’s like a practice without understanding and that’s just not right.
We don’t do yoga for the sake of an Instagram pose or to impress people. We do yoga because we want to communicate & nurture our body.
We practice because we want to become better and improve our mobility; loosen those tight muscles and feel better.
We shouldn’t do poses to impress, only to inspire.
Always remember that there’s no one size, fits all approach here and that every person’s fitness journey is unique. It’s a very personal thing. One’s practice may not be the same as yours and vice versa. My practice will be different from your practice but what’s important is your intent & purpose because, at the end of it all, it’s all about you and your journey.
If ever you get overwhelmed (like I did before), try to stop for a moment, step back and ask yourself why you’re doing it.
What’s your WHY?
Is it to entertain?
Gain likes & followers? Or is it to nourish your body & gain strength?
And after you answered these, then you will now have a clear understanding why you want to practice yoga. 😀 That even without any social media post or camera, you’ll continue to practice your asanas because that’s just how it should be. 😉