More than ever, we need it.
These days, most of us live busy lives. Humans have an amazing capacity to multitask and live at a frenetic pace. But our always moving, doing and going might not be so good for us. Living at too rapid a pace, we struggle to maintain a sense of wholeness and well-being. We can be left feeling stressed, disconnected and isolated, despite our having more ways than ever before to “connect.” All this can keep us from enjoying our lives and can harm our physical health too, by compromising our immune systems and contributing to chronic disease.
Yoga can be as simple as you want it to be.
Yoga requires no religious vow, no guru, no fancy yoga clothes and no ashram visits. Of course, you can choose these things if you want to, but they’re all optional. Yoga requires your body and your breath. And that’s about it.
Yoga brings health to the body.
Yoga brings length and tone to muscles and increases flexibility and strength. It leads to better balance and posture, improved digestion and circulation and can ease chronic problems such as insomnia, back pain, sciatica, arthritis and high blood pressure. Yoga also contributes to a healthy immune system.
Yoga relieves stress.
Yoga brings body and mind together. Yoga’s physical poses focus your awareness. As you concentrate on your breath and the simple movements of your body, you gain a sharp awareness of your present experience. With this awareness, you’re able to put the concerns of your daily life aside. Your to-do lists and other distractions and stressors fall away.
Yoga helps you know yourself. (And makes you happy.)
Yoga first makes you aware of your body’s physical habits. For example, you may find one side of your body tighter than the other. Or you may notice that you feel strong in some poses and more challenged in others.
Yoga then makes you more aware of your mind’s habits. How do you talk to yourself when you experience a challenging pose? What are your emotions when you find ease in a pose? Do you push yourself to the limit, or do you like to take it easy?
As you become more aware of your body, mind and emotions, you discover that you are your own master. You gain more clarity around decisions. You realize that you have the freedom to act rather than react, and that you’re in control. You realize that you have all you need to be healthy and happy.
Yoga connects you with others and the world.
When you tap deeply into your own personal experience, you realize the commonality of human struggles and joys — what it truly means to be human. A sense of interconnection and shared humanity is the antidote to the feelings of disconnection and superficiality our fast-paced culture can create.
You feel freer to connect with others in your life or to connect with parts of yourself that you’ve ignored for a while. Your creativity may start flowing again. You may gain a new appreciation for nature or healthy food.
Yoga cultivates the very best version of you.
Yoga is not about creating the perfect pose, but about creating the pose that’s perfect for you, from the inside, on and off the mat.
With the clarity and vision you gain from yoga, you become more decisive. On the yoga mat, you’ll make choices based on what feels right to you at a given moment.
Off the yoga mat, you’ll find clarity around other choices, big and small. Do I like the direction my career is taking me? What do I want for lunch? With heightened awareness, you begin to choose things that serve you and your goals best. And you begin to turn away from choices that are less healthy and that don’t benefit you.