Why Yoga?

One of the questions I am often asked is “why do you do yoga?” Yoga is a very personal practice and while many of you may share my reasons for taking the first step onto the mat, there are as many other reasons as there are yogis.

I began my journey to the mat because I was searching for balance in my life. At that time I was working several jobs and spinning my wheels trying to keep up with a hectic work and social schedule, pay bills, and all of the other trappings of life. At that time, I didn’t realize what I was searching for, but I knew that life wasn’t meant to be what it was at that time. On one particular visit to my chiropractor to get yet another adjustment to my locked SI joint, and my subluxated cervical spine, she asked me if I had ever considered Yoga. I hadn’t. I immediately thought back to my Mom doing Yoga in our living room in the mid 70’s, certainly not something I was interested in. At that time however, I had come to realize that any suggestion to help alleviate pain and increase my range of motion was worth at least investigation.

I walked into my first yoga studio knowing nothing. I had no idea what all of the different class offerings meant, I had no idea what my goals were, nor really what yoga was. My first class was certainly over my head and I really should not have been in that class. My ego was leading me through poses as I tried to keep up with the bendy, pretzel shaped regulars, and I had no idea what I was doing. The next day I was stiff and sore, but I had had something awoken in me. I wanted to attend another class. I wasn’t sure what drew me back, certainly it wasn’t to try and contort myself into the myriad shapes of these crazy poses! Looking back now, I know that it was the feeling of being grounded, and centered. Learning to breathe and integrate that with movement gave me more than I could even articulate, and this is why I returned.

Luckily, I found a more beginner’s paced class and everything about that class felt right. I could move to the asanas (poses) easily and I could focus on breathing, listening intently to the masterful guidance of the teacher, and letting go of my ego. From there, every class got easier and I started to understand what I was doing.

Since the early days of my practice, I have spent many hours on my mat, and every time I do, I feel better. I feel more connected, I feel more grounded, balanced. I have a much increased range of motion, and I rarely need to visit a chiropractor. I am flexible and I injure myself less often, and when I do injure, I heal faster. I know that all of these benefits are directly attributed to my yoga practice. Aside from the physical, I can focus better, I can deal with challenging situations in life easier. These are the reasons I do yoga.

What are the reasons you do yoga, or, what are the reasons you haven’t tried it yet? Comment and tell me about your yogic journey or what holds you back from it!