My first experience learning yoga began with my mom’s old yoga video tape that remained unopened until I discovered it one summer day. Stuck inside from a heat wave that summer, my 12-year-old self went rummaging through video tapes to cure my boredom.
The yoga video grabbed my attention as I glared at the woman bent like a V in the air, the boat pose. Her limbs so strong and firm, I wanted to be as confident as she appeared to be. So, I popped the tape in, threw on some leggings, and began to fall in love with yoga.
I watched that video over and over again, I found more yoga videos at yard sales and I began to meditate as well. Over the years I kept coming back to yoga; it has been a part of me since that hazy day. I wouldn’t be who I am today without it and I learned these life skills from yoga.
Slow down and take in life
The best yoga asana is the one where you lose time. The moment where your entire body is aligned with your mind. You feel oneness with the world and wholeness within yourself. It is only when you take the time to align both body and mind that you get to the spirit level. The level where you live in the moment, free from triviality and truly enjoy your profound existence.
Do not compare yourself to others
Yoga is personal. There are different types of yoga and various benefits of yoga for a reason. Some people will use yoga for weight loss, stress relief, back pain or other injuries while others use yoga as a means of exercise to gain strength and flexibility. The uses and benefits of yoga are vast. So, there is no one way or reason to practice yoga. There are no belts or trophies to be won. Yoga is for you only; you get out of it what you put in. That is why the focus should never be on how can I be as good as another yogi ,it should be how can I make myself a better person through my yoga practice.
Exercising the mind is just as important as the body
Not only can meditation relieve stress, it also can be used to increase concentration and memory because yoga improves blood circulation to the brain and promotes balance and focus. I found that deep stretching and breathing gave me energy as well as increased my alertness more so than a day in the gym or playing traditional sports. It was the combination of mental stimulation and relaxation that increased by awareness of both the mind and body and their flow of energy.
Everything in moderation
Pranayama breathing exercises not only teaches you the importance of each breath, it also shows you your limitations. Each breath in must eventual lead to a breath out; for every action there is an equally opposing reaction (yes, I just dropped some physics). So, in yoga just as in life (and physics) there are consequences for pushing your boundaries. So, it is essential to be patient with yourself. Begin yoga without an end in mind because yoga is not a destination it is the present.