Yoga can serve so many purposes for us and on many levels – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
On a physical level, we can look at yoga as a way of becoming stronger, more flexible, more in tune with the function of our bodies. The physical practice of asanas and connection with the breath make this possible. Better breathing makes us feel better. Moving our bodies makes us feel better. By combining these two elements purposefully through yoga, we have a powerful way of improving our health and wellbeing.
Yoga also serves the purpose of improving the inner health of your body. Not just the muscles, but the organs that sit inside of us. For example, the heart, the liver, the lungs, and the kidneys. All the different parts of us that keep us alive can be affected through our yoga practice. We can do this more generally, without a deep understanding of how or why it is working, or we can be more specific and use yoga poses to target specific organs and body systems. Through this targeted practice and awareness, we can develop a relationship with our inner bodies and get a sense of how they function. We also become more aware of how what we do on a daily basis affects the inner environment. Perhaps this knowledge is too intimate for some of us, but I believe it is a powerful tool for maintaining and improving our health.
Emotionally, mentally and spiritually, the regular practice of yoga gives us the potential to acknowledge who we are, where we have come from, and how we want to move forward. To take time for ourselves and show up in a vulnerable place. To better understand what triggers us. To be present to those uncomfortable sensations. To observe and to feel. To find peace in the discomfort. To acknowledge the screaming going on inside our heads and step back from it. To allow the mind and body to connect with the breath and be one. To go deeper and know there is a way out.
Yoga gives us these gifts.
Taking this off the mat and embodying yoga, we can use these gifts to live a more purposeful and heart-connected life in the following ways:
To know when we need to pause and rest.
To know when we need to lift ourselves up.
To know when to breathe.
To know how we feel, deeply.
To know ourselves more fully.
To be present.
And it’s this practice of being present with yourself – of not polluting your mind, not distracting yourself, not losing that connection, but instead deepening it – that allows us to become and be better at who we are and how we live.
The beauty in this process is that it then flows out into our interactions with others. Where we show up aligned with who we are and who we want to become, and demonstrate the connection to the values we hold dear. Ultimately, breathing life into our spiritual being housed in this earthly existence.
For me, this is yoga. I hope that something in this resonates with you. Perhaps you'd like to share your thoughts below.