One day last spring, I found myself overweight, exhausted, and sick – again. When I looked in the mirror I didn’t recognize the woman staring back at me.
Something had to change.
So, I looked through the classes available at our local YMCA and somewhere in my heart I heard Him say, “Give yoga a try.”
I did, and among many amazing things that have happened in the past six months as a result of yoga, this blog series was born!
Yoga is fabulous, friends. Here are 7 reasons why:
#1 – Yoga centers your mind.
Think about all the thoughts running through your mind right now – errands, appointments, to dos, deadlines. It’s a lot, right? Next think about how you feel about each of those thoughts – stressed, busy, worried, harried. Without keeping our thoughts in check, our inner troubles and worries can affect our health, well-being, and state of mind. Yoga helps center our minds so we can gain control of our thoughts and feelings, rather than them controlling us!
#2 – Yoga challenges your body.
Yoga not only centers the mind, it’s also an incredible workout! When I first started, I was 30 pounds overweight and sick all the time. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t recognize myself. Today, when I look in the mirror, I’m so happy to see a vibrant woman staring back at me!
Yoga works not only the bigger muscles we typically think of, but also the tiny ones that often go forgotten in traditional workouts, including muscles in your face, neck, back, and feet. Think about how important those are! Our faces bear our smiles and expressions, our feet provide balance for our bodies, and our necks and spines help us walk taller and hold our heads high. After just a few sessions, you’ll begin to notice that you smile brighter, feel stronger, and walk standing tall!
#3 – Yoga teaches perseverance.
When I first started yoga, I felt clumsy and awkward. All those poses that looked so simple through the glass at the gym were anything but, and I felt silly as I stumbled, toppled, and lost my balance – a lot. But by showing up each week and pushing myself just a little bit more during each session, I can now do poses that seemed impossible when I first started!
And there are always new poses and modifications to try as you advance and grow through your practice! I think this Bembu post puts it really well:
Yoga requires you to get into and hold positions that will naturally strengthen your muscles, using only your bodyweight for resistance. This is a very unique approach because as you do more yoga, your body weight should naturally decrease, which logic would say should make the poses more easy to complete…But the beauty of yoga is that you can try more advanced poses as your abilities improve and your body gets stronger and lighter. – Bembu.com
#4 – Yoga cultivates kindness.
And who couldn’t use more of that! At every session, people, including yours truly, lose their balance, take extra time for tougher poses, and do modified versions throughout class. And it’s awesome! The energy in the room is one of care, thoughtfulness, and kindness. If you’ve felt held back by being “that person” who will “look silly,” let go of that thought, friend. Everyone starts at the beginning, even the folks who seem like they can wrap themselves in a pretzel with ease. They, too, started with the basics!
#5 – Yoga teaches balance.
And not just on the mat! Regardless of how I feel when I enter a yoga class, I always leave feeling more centered, mindful, and tuned-in, not only to my own thoughts, feelings, and well-being, but also to those around me. A balance of inner-peace and connection with others is key for a fulfilling life. Yoga helps me remember what truly matters.
#6 – Yoga is fun for everyone, including kids!
I love this post from Activewear USA on yoga fun for kids and moms. Kristen and I do yoga together regularly and she loves poses like these!
Photo credit and more info: Yoga fun for kids and moms
#7 – Yoga creates a space for our souls to breathe.
And this is so important. In the words of Emily P. Freeman:
Creating space for my soul to breathe is about respecting the daily pauses I need to be fully myself so that I can be present with God and faithful in my home, my work, and my community.
Yoga allows me to create this space. It helps me see life as more than a series of harried moments, but rather a fluid, beautiful work of art unfolding.
It reminds me to stay true to my faith, to my family, and to the person God created me to be.
Have you tried yoga? Do you like it? In what ways does it honor your soul?