We all know yoga has its benefits, but can it change your life? In short, yes. But let’s dive deeper into how and why.
What is the aim of yoga?
The literal meaning of yoga is “union” of mind, body and higher self. Through breathing techniques, exercise and meditation, yoga is a practice that aims to build the connection between physical, mental, social, and spiritual development; by building this connection, you become self-aware.
Whilst the original purpose of yoga was to increase this awareness and become connected to your higher self, the gap between the spiritual and physical has widened and the focus has shifted solely to physical aesthetics. The lack of attention to the spiritual side of yoga is why we love doing what we do at Y42, and we aim to bring awareness to the original beauty and magic of the yoga practices.
The higher self is a vast topic and conversation, but in short, it is a state of consciousness and it is a part of you. Many spiritual journeys begin with finding a connection to your higher self, which involves meditation and yoga to awaken your feelings and align the body and mind. This relationship between body and soul is the doorway to the higher self and is crucial for personal development.
How can yoga change your life?
Yoga increases strength and flexibility. It may sound obvious that yoga can make us more flexible, but it’s often overlooked as a method of increasing strength. But yoga requires a surprising amount of strength that can be built up with consistency and will aid in boosting metabolism and the immune system.
Yoga boosts the immune system. Practicing yoga has been proven to boost the immune system through various stretches and exercises. The movement allows the body to relax in the parasympathetic nervous system (the rest and digest state). This is important because a lot of the time our bodies are activating the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight state), which causes a lot of stress on our bodies and has a negative impact on the immune system.
We learn to respect our bodies. It’s easy to be harsh on ourselves and criticise ourselves for small things. When we practice yoga, we’re building a connection with our higher selves (the part of us that has no prejudice), and this allows us come to the realisation that our bodies are strong and should be respected.
We learn to quiet the mind. Yoga allows us to take a time out of our busy and hectic lives and quiet down the mind. Everyone needs to take some time out for mindfulness – this doesn’t necessarily mean sitting still in one position and meditating. It means being present and being mindful of what you’re doing and how you feel.
Yoga relieves stress. Following the previous point, when we quiet the mind and become aware of our actions and feelings, we tend to release the stress that we carry around all day. By focusing attention to our stretches and breathing patterns, we become present. This has a snowball effect; when stress is reduced, immune system increases and has an overall positive impact on the body.
Yoga eases pain and prevents diseases. If stress is released and our immune system is healthy, it can do a much better job at fighting off diseases and illnesses. Doctors and nurses love yoga because it reduces blood pressure, cholesterol and improves cardiovascular health. Yoga can also ease pain by building flexibility and mobility.
Yoga increases energy. Practicing yoga regularly provides consistent energy. As stress levels reduce, and blood flow is stimulated, your body has more energy throughout the day and it provides a much better sleep at night.
Feel in control of your life. Through yoga, we are able to see things differently. Our perception and outlook on life shifts and because of yoga philosophy and practices, we can come to the conclusion that our actions are creating our reality and that we have full control. Practicing yoga also restores balance in the body, allowing for a more stable and happier approach to life.
Yoga gives meaning to the day. Starting the day with yoga is extremely powerful because it allows us to set intentions for the day and make clear decisions. Setting intentions helps us to be more self-aware and focused for the day.
Yoga is a continuous journey. The most beautiful thing about yoga is that it’s YOUR personal journey – make it your own! Listen to your body and do what’s right for you. Remember to take it easy and don’t forget that you are in control. Yoga is a continuous journey and everyone’s journey is different, so enjoy it and watch your life completely transform!