When I mention to you the term ‘yoga,’ I can assume [I usually try not to, though] that images of lithe, spandex clad people in precarious positions that resembles torture moves comes to mind. Just a few months ago, those were my exact thoughts as well. But after being introduced to a phenomenal book about yoga, I realized there is much, much more to yoga than being a current fitness fad. It’s a lifestyle.
Now, when I think of yoga, I understand that it involves more than the physical poses [asanas], its about connecting with your inner-self and and the outside world, coming together in harmony. I know it sounds cliche, but through my practice I really am finally learning to be at peace with myself and the world around me… even if its only for a few moments.
Before I understood the depth of yoga, I was hooked by the romanticized view of the practice. [Just so you know for future references, I’m notorious for holding romanticized ideals for EVERYTHING! If it weren’t for Mr. J, my tie back to reality, I would be lost in the clouds somewhere.] I loved the serene photographs of yogis in their gravity-defying poses… it looked almost effortless. And then there’s the beautiful athletic wear… don’t get me started on that! If I could live in yoga clothes all day long, I would be a very happy and comfy person. And one day I will be the proud owner of a pair of Lululemon yoga pants… one day…
Along with this rose-colored views on yoga, I was purely interested in the benefits of the exercise. I wanted a toned body with abs of steel [I still do…]. Because I only had superficial reasons to practice yoga, instead of a deeper passion, I didn’t stick with it beyond a week… if that. While in the poses I wouldn’t focus on my breathing, rather, I let my mind wander ceaselessly.
What should I cook for dinner tonight? …. I need to pay such + such bill after this…. wow this pose is sooooo uncomfortable… concentrate, Bethany, concentrate…. abs of steel girl… you got this… I really just want ice cream right now…
That is an excellent example of my internal dialogue during my mat time. No wonder I couldn’t stick with it. And yet I would keep trying, thinking this time would be better than the last… but it didn’t improve.
So why would I try again?
Besides the wise adage ‘If you fall off your horse, get back in the saddle’ I discovered a book titled ‘Wanderlust: A Modern Yogi’s Guide to Discovering Your Best Self’ and it just captivated my attention. Immediately, I purchased the book and just soaked in every word. This book includes more than just yoga poses strung together into sequences. Rather, it takes you on a journey of self-discovery [finding your true north] and delves into a lifestyle that embraces all aspects of yoga. I’m really not one to preach a bout a product, but I highly, highly recommend this book… it will change your life. It’s changing mine.
But why, you ask, am I falling in love with yoga?
Excellent question, my dear. When I’m on the mat now, I am able to reach an inner peace through my breathing. Each pose makes me aware of the different areas of my body that I don’t think much about and it makes me appreciate the strength that I do have. While I’m meditating, I feel this heavy warmth blanket my body and I feel comforted and empowered to take on the new day. I love the good vibes I get from a good practice and meditation session. Call me a yogi hippie, but I love it!
And to solidify this positive habit, I ‘m challenging myself to complete 30 consecutive days of yoga practice and meditation [you should try it out too!]. I’m looking forward to seeing how this impacts my daily life. Currently, I practice only a few mornings a week and I can see a drastic difference in my mood + behavior between the days I did practice yoga and the days that I didn’t.
So the next 30 days should be very interesting and insightful.
What do you love about yoga? I would love to hear about your experiences too!