How to change your life with yoga
Whether you start yoga to work with your body or breath or to reduce your stress levels, it will go wider and deeper than that. If you are already here to change your life, I can say that you have taken the right path.
I started yoga for a healthier, more mobile body. I know a lot of experienced yogins and yoga teachers who started that way. For many people, yoga begins as something they do a few times a week and quickly becomes something they adopt as a lifestyle.
Right after I started practicing yoga, I encountered an amazing idea. Someone told me that yoga can make me feel at home in my body. I did not know what it meant exactly but as soon as I heard that I realized I was craving for it. It sounded like such a fresh and liberated way of being.
- To feel comfortable and safe in my body.
- Not needing to go home to take a real safe peaceful breath.
- To be able to take the comfort, safety of the idea of home with me anywhere I go.
So as you can see, even though we are just talking about the body we are actually going much deeper than that. It is about changing your relationship with your life beginning with your body.
The way to do it is very simple. I will tell the key to change your life through yoga at the end of this article. Just because I enjoy suspense (yoga taught me to enjoy the suspense), not because it is complicated. In fact, it is very simple.
I want to clarify one thing:
You will be the one who changes your life, not yoga. Yoga will give you the mental clarity, health, and ability of the body, also the spiritual strength to do that.
And the change will happen gradually. Your life won’t change in a day. It will keep being a journey with some bumps on the way. Still, you will see the difference.
Let’s say that you are only focusing on the Asana practice like many of the yogins of the modern world. Your yoga practice is all about moving your body with breath. There is, of course, more you can do but even that will make a difference.
Let me explain how your yoga practice will inevitably change your life. I will focus on only two main aspects. Just keep in mind there is much more to it. Here we begin:
Connection with the body
Your body is a part of this world. It shares the wisdom of mother earth. If not manipulated through social environments, chemicals, habits, etc., your body would be naturally inclined to healthier life choices. The more you start a dialogue with your body you create more space for such inclinations.
Yoga tradition tells us that our mind, body, and spirit are connected. This means that when you are exposed to toxic environments when there is emotional distress your body reacts to it. For most of us, it is easier to listen to the wisdom of our body then our feelings, instincts, or soul. But if you keep communicating with your body, it will tell you that something is not right. Yoga asana classes are unique environments where we relearn/remember how to listen to our bodies.
As humans, we have so many tools to engage with life besides our ratiınal mind. Opening up to the wisdom of the body will make it easier to access the subtler vibrations of wisdom.
Connection with the breath
This connection with the body is not the only thing. During a yoga asana class, we also connect with the breath. The breath is a gateway between our conscious and unconscious mind, also, between our environment and the inner world. Just like the body, breath adjusts itself according to everything we are going through. If we can control the breath we can be less reactive and have more time and calm to choose our reactions.
When you are practicing on your mat, your yoga practice challenges you. While facing this challenge you are told to breathe as if you are the most carefree person in the world. Calm, steady, smooth breaths throughout the practice is essential. Normally when there is a challenge, your body became aroused and alert, the sympathetic nervous system taps in. Through yoga, you learn how to tell your body, your nervous system to stay calm. Try to recall all the thoughts that rush into your mind when you just don’t want to hold the pose anymore. You stay there and learn how to embrace the things that you would otherwise run away from.
Everything you do will have an impact on your life, especially your yoga practice.
The things you practice on the yoga mat are not just for the yoga practice. They are life skills you are improving. You start using them in your life. You start finding yourself doing the yoga breath when triggered. You catch yourself getting agitated and have a moment to decide what to do next before you react.
As you create an inner clarity and peace of mind, you begin to think about how to live a more meaningful and purposeful life. Just like the times when you think that you won’t be able to hold the pose one more breath and end up holding it at least three more, you begin to reach for what seems impossible.
You discover how strong you are mentally. You discover the true strength of your body which you were unaware of before. This does not stop you, you keep getting stronger. All this happens in an environment that is safe, that is not competitive and non-judgemental.
Finally, as promised, the golden key to change your life through your practice.
- Find the right teacher. The right teacher will inspire you in an empowering way.
- Show up for your yoga practice.