I used to think that yoga was about stretching and being flexible.
When I was introduced to Ashtanga and vinyasa flow yoga, I realised that yoga was also about strength.
When I did my yoga teacher training, I realised that yoga is so much more than a physical practice.
People often say to me that they can’t do yoga because they’re not flexible. But that’s only a small part of what yoga is really about.
Yoga allows time for self-discovery and provides a moving meditation so that we become aware of our bodies and aware of our thoughts in a way that is connected.
It allows us to simultaneously be in our bodies and aware of our minds. It provides a mirror for our reactions, and offers a safe place to explore uncomfortable feelings.
It offers tools to help us deal with icky stuff on the mat, so that when icky stuff enters our life, we have the resources to cope.
Yoga can permeate all areas of life – it inspires mindful living, conscious choices, a life of intention.
It can help create a beautiful life by allowing us to understand patterns and curate decisions so that we have control over actions, thoughts and reactions.
Which leads us, ultimately, to a life lived, not passively, but cultivated with joy and meaning.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t like the physical benefits – yoga makes my body feel good too.
But it’s what’s beyond the physical that is so much more special to me. And it’s THAT part of yoga that keeps me coming back to my mat.
Photo by Paula Sanderson Photography @paula_sandersonphotos