Why do you practice Yoga?
This is a question that has come up a ton over the last decade. My reasoning’s have also changed a lot over time.
When I first began yoga, it was a practice that forced me deep into my body, getting me out of my head and taught me about my greatest resource, the breath. I used the practice as a way to heal my physical ailments and filter my minds negative tendencies.
Years passed by and I found myself falling into a “yoga rut”. Where I became competitive with my self and the other yogi’s in class. Comparing myself to others and beating myself up when I didn’t meet up, critiquing myself when I struggled in a pose. Thus the practice I originally leaned into for solace then became another excuse to beat myself. Trust me I have a lot of those already.
It took awhile (I’ve been practicing yoga since 2002), but I eventually became aware of this. I saw the gap in my practice and recognized the choice I had in the moment. There was no way I could sustain my yoga if it was going to create this much inner turmoil. Something had to change.
That’s when I made a commitment to let my yoga practice be a practice of Self Love, a practice of Self Care. So I started going to more fitness classes, like spinning at the local gym, Zumba (b/c it’s freakin’ fun), Barre method classes to balance out my need to burn calories and “stay fit”, so that my yoga practice could be something different. So that I could unroll my yoga mat each day and consider, “what do I need today?” “How can I serve my Self?”. Sometimes this meant taking my yoga practice outside to the beach, or on the grass at the local park. Other times, this meant more of a focus on pranayama (breath work) and meditation, maybe some mantra. Sometimes my asana practice was gentle and restorative, other times it was steady and vigorous. Either way, I was letting go of the expectations that it needed to look a certain way. That it needed to be in a particular format. That my self worth was measured on my capability, when in reality my Self worth is my birthright. There’s nothing I need to do to acquire value and I am good enough whether I ever get my feet behind my head or not. I practice Yoga because it reminds me of this and allows for the necessary time to remember just how special and important I am in this crazy thing called Life.
May you spend some time considering why you practice yoga? There’s no right or wrong, good or bad, so let go of the categorizing of it all. Just be true to your self and I promise your practice will deepen and your understanding of Self will grow.
With you on this path,