Why is it so important to do yoga? Is yoga any different than going to the gym and working out? Isn’t it just exercising? I hear so many stories about how people love their yoga practice or how it is an important part of their mental and physical life. But really, why is it so special?
I absolutely understand your question. I mean, with all of those other kinds of exercises out there, why is yoga so special, so different. The obvious answer is for flexibility, stress relief, better health, and physical fitness, actually more than 90% of people come to yoga for those reasons alone. But after they start, their primary reason for doing yoga usually changes.
What yoga offers to everyone is self-reflection, also the practice of kindness and compassion.
When people say that they are not flexible enough to try yoga or are not able to do yoga for that reason, I tell them that yoga isn’t about attaining the perfect pose, it’s not about perfecting that perfect handstand, it’s not about being “right” or “good enough.” It’s about removing judgment, the judgment that you place on yourself, and being present in the now. Much easier said than done!
So often it’s difficult to have confidence in ourselves, difficult to have faith in what we can do. And it’s even harder to be aware of the chatter that the mind often creates, much of the time very negative. Yoga helps us silence that noise, it helps us appreciate our bodies and what they can do.
Sometimes it takes having to get on your yoga mat and let your body support you in order to give yourself permission to appreciate you and what you can do. Come to your yoga mat to feel, not to accomplish shift your focus from achieving, from setting expectations and allow your heart to be open, to accept what it can and cannot do, allow your heart to grow.
Everybody gets something different from yoga, but yoga gives everyone the same things: calmness, clarity, strength, love, serenity, confidence, gratitude etc. Mostly, yoga helps us to be open, not only with ourselves, but with others and with the universe! The definition of yoga is unity, uniting your body, mind, and spirit!
That is why we practice yoga!
“True yoga is not about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life. Yoga is not to be performed: yoga is to be lived.” ——Aadil Palkhivala