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I have been wanting to write about yoga for some time now. It has become such an important part of my life that I just feel the need to share my experiences. So, even though it’s not food-based, I’m still going to write about it because I feel that it is an important part of feeding my body and soul.
I have been practicing yoga on and off for about 10 years, though my practice was way more off than on. At the beginning of 2011, I made a commitment to dedicate myself to regular practice. My goal was to attend at least two classes per week and then practice on my own as much as possible. So far, I have been attending an average of 4 classes per week, though I don’t regularly practice on my own at home. For some reason, I can’t remain as dedicated to home practice as I can studio practice. But, I think that’s OK, especially when I am hitting the 4-class-per-week mark. On some of the other days, I walk or go to the gym and weight train, always reminding myself to make time for exercise.
Some of you may know that my mother is a yoga instructor, so I have many years of knowing that yoga is good for me and that I really should be practicing. But, life always got in the way. Well, actually, I let life get in the way. While there are short-term benefits that can be gleaned from even the most sporadic of practices, the true benefits of yoga set in when you practice long-term. Yoga really is something that you should commit to for the rest of your life. It’s not designed to be a hobby that you pick up every now and then, though doing something is always better than nothing! But, if you are really seeking the rewards of yoga, you have to commit yourself to a dedicated practice.
Is Yoga For Me?
One of the wonderful things about yoga is that anyone can practice it. These are just some of the things I love about yoga:
- It’s open to everyone. Men, women, and kids of all body shapes and sizes, ages, fitness levels, etc. can practice yoga. Unlike some sports, yoga is designed to adapt to you and your body’s needs. It’s your practice, so you can do what feels right for your body.
- It is not judgmental. Also, like some sports, you should never ever feel judged in your yoga practice. That means that your fellow students and your teacher are not judging you, but it also means that you should never judge yourself or others either.
- You can do it anywhere. You don’t need any special equipment, except for your yoga mat. But, even if you don’t have your mat with you, you can still practice.
- It constantly evolves. You will never be “done” with yoga. Even the most experienced yogis continually learn and improve their practice.
- You can never get bored with your practice. There are countless poses and combinations to keep your mind and body occupied.
- It has amazing health benefits.
- It has amazing spiritual benefits.
- It can change your life.
- You are required to relax at the end of every class. Force me to relax? OK. 🙂
I would encourage everyone to at least give it a try a few times. It might not be for you, and I understand that (even though I believe that everyone can benefit from yoga). But, I also think that you have to do a certain number of sessions before your body and brain start to enjoy it and glean the benefits. I believe that one of the reasons I have not been able to stick with it in the past is because I would always do a couple classes and then forget about it. When I committed myself to regular practice this year, I noticed a distinct change when I had made it past the one month mark. The first few weeks, I would feel like I was forcing myself to go. But then, one day, it clicked. I was addicted. I crave it. I can feel when my body is yearning for it. Now, it’s become a part of me and what I do, so it never feels like I am forcing myself to go to class. You will have days that you feel like skipping class, it happens to me too, but those days will become fewer and further between if you stick with it. You’ll start getting to the point where you schedule your life around yoga, just to ensure you don’t miss your class or home practice.
In the next post, I will discuss the health benefits of yoga. Do you practice yoga? Why do you love it? I can’t wait to hear your stories!