Yoga has grown in popularity exponentially over the last ten years. Maybe you have friends who practice. It’s possible you have been to a class or two yourself. Yet for some reason or another the practice just didn’t stick.
Maybe you didn’t like the class you went to, maybe the studio didn’t offer classes when you could go, or maybe you didn’t really understand why you should invest your time in practicing yoga.
As a long term practitioner and teacher of yoga I am going to explain why learning yoga should be a priority for you if you are invested in: health, wellbeing, anti-aging, personal growth, and living a more stress free life.
I was introduced to yoga in 2007 When I was in college and I got serious about my practice in 2011.
In 2011 I committed to practicing and studying daily. The results were nothing short of a miracle.
My life totally changed for the better. I was so amazed I decided that I needed to share all the incredible gifts this practice has to offer. So in 2013 I became a teacher.
I have sense taught in studios, schools and private homes all over the United States.
I have witnessed first hand the incredible transformations that occur in people who practice yoga on a regular basis.
You don’t have to go as deep as I did having a daily practice to relieve the benefits of yoga.
I have seen people transform from practicing three to five times a week. And Yoga is not just a physical practice. It is an eight limbed practice that was created over 5,000 years ago.
So don’t worry you don’t have to do the physical practice three to five times a week if you don’t want to. Although, I think once you get started you will feel so great you will want to continue.
The 8 limbed path of Yoga comes from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. The Yoga Sutras are comprised of 196 lines that beautifully describe the human experience and how to powerfully navigate our lives.
The eight limbs of yoga are:
1. Yama’s – Rules to live by
Ahimsa – Having compassion for all living things.
Satya – Commitments to truthfulness.
Asteya – Non-stealing to take nothing that does not belong to you or has been freely given to you.
Brahmacharya – Sexual Restraint, not abusing sexual energy or taking advantage.
Aparigraha – Non-Grasping, not being greedy, taking what we have earned and no more.
2. Niyama – Personal Observances
Sauca – Purity, both inner and outer cleanliness. Having a healthy body & clarity of mind
Santosha – Contentment, being content with what we have. Being a peace even when life is challenging.
Tapas – Disciplined use of our energy. Attention to body, eating habits, breath, mind.
Svadhyaya – Self Study to find self awareness in all of our activities, efforts, dreams, goals.
Teaches us how to be in our center and non-reactive, to eliminate self-destructive tendencies.
Ishvarapranidhana – Celebration of the Spiritual, to be attuned to the divine and align yourself with it.
3. Asana – The physical postures or poses.
4. Pranayama – Breathwork.
5. Pratyahara – non-attachment or Control of the senses.
6. Dharana – Concentration/Self Awareness the “immovable concentration of the mind” The
ability to hold our focus/ attention on one thing or direction.
7. Dhyana- Meditation having a single pointed focus, perfect state of contemplation.
8. Samadhi – Union with the divine/enlightenment The liberation of the soul, inner peace.
So now that you know a little bit more about yoga, I am going to share with you why it is so powerful.
It will increase your self love
There is just something very special about the practice of yoga that helps you connect to yourself and your truth. When you are on your yoga mat or you are sitting in meditation or practicing pranayama everything else just fades away and you are present with yourself.
When I first got serious about my practice I was not in a great place in my life. I was in a toxic relationship and I felt lost and disconnected to myself and my purpose.
What getting on my mat taught me was that I was worthy of love and kindness. That I didn’t have to settle for less. My yoga practice helped me connect to myself in a loving and compassionate way. It taught me how to love myself so that I could
Practicing yoga has been scientifically proven to reduce inflammation in your body, improves heart health, combats anxiety and depression, improves sleep, decreases stress, and combat PMS. Now if those things are not enough to peak your interest in practicing yoga I think is will.
Yoga has also been shown to lengthen the lifespan and youth. Practicing yoga will keep you alive longer and have you looking and feeling younger longer. And this is something I can personally attest to. I feel better and look better now that I am thirty than I did when I was in m twenty. And that has a lot to do with my yoga practice.
Before my yoga practice I had chronic back pain. Everyday I woke up and my back hurt for as long as I could remember, even when I was a little kid. Then after a few yoga classes I noticed my back pain was decreasing. A few months in to having a regular practice my back pain wastotally gone.
Not only am I in less pain now, but my body is so much more flexible and has so much less inflammation. It is easy to see from pictures from before my practice and today. It is quite amazing to see the difference.
It will bring you peace
If you are anything like I was your mind is constantly going all day and all night. Many nights I struggled to fall asleep because my mind was so active. Thankfully that is all a thing of the past for me.
Yoga teaches you how to quiet your mind and find peace in the present moment. Through asana (physical practices, meditation, and pranayama (breath work). This is one of my favorite pranayama practices for slowing down my thoughts. And you can learn more about starting meditation in a non intimidating way here.
It will help you live more intentionally
When you start practicing yoga regularly you become more aware of yourself and the choices that you are making. As a result, you will be much more intentional in your life. I have seen this happen in my own life and in the lives of my students.
One of my private clients is the perfect example of this. When she started practicing with me she worked in a really high stress environment, she always ate out and never really paid attention to what she was eating, she also was a huge consumer of single use items for the convenience.
After we had been working together for a few months she developed a new awareness and decided she wanted to be much more intentional with her life. She started eating healthier meals, she brought her own food with her to work in glass reusable containers, she started learning about sustainable fashion and supporting companies who used sustainable materials and practices.
One day when we were finished with the practice she told me how much her yoga practice had benefited her life. She was amazed at how much better she felt, how much more connected she felt to herself and her purpose, and being more intentional in her life eliminated so much stress and unnecessary spending. Her practice had even inspired her to start volunteering.
All of these things are available to you too! The 8 limb practice can offer you all of these things and more. Your journey will be unique to you and will take you exactly where you are meant to go. I hope that this post has inspired you to being your own journey with the practice of yoga. If I can assist you in anyway it would be my honor and privilege. So feel free to reach out!
Ali Betts is a Spiritual Life Coach, Yoga Instructor, & Author. It is her mission to help as many people as she can awaken to their truth and reason for being here on this planet at this time.
Ali is the founder of The Wholeistic Life where she shares insights and tips for living a life in alignment with your truth & purpose, offers workshops, coaching, retreats and more.