So, all kinds of businesses are using these catchy taglines, so I have one too. It was a challenge to use just 3 words to sum up what a yoga practice can do for you, but now I'll do my best to explain the thought process.
EXPLORE - When you practice yoga, the idea is to turn inward. As you become more familiar with the poses, you will have the unique opportunity to enter a moving meditation. This is a time for exploration without judgement. Notice the things that come up. Are you comparing your poses to the person next to you? Do you have certain thoughts or feelings that come up while you practice? Sometimes things that challenge us physically or emotionally can also challenge the physical practice of yoga. Acknowledge whatever it is, and then bring your attention back to the movements, the focus of your gaze (drishti), and your breath.
CREATE - Yoga allows us to create space in our bodies and minds. That space may result in deeper breathing. I have personally seen a gain of 1.5 inches in height (due to improved posture). That being said, the space that I have gained mentally is much more valuable to me. Your time on the mat is your practice for the rest of your life. While challenging myself to stay with difficult poses on the mat, I have learned to focus, stay calm and remain joyful in all sorts of poses. These skills are easy to transfer to my time off the mat. My temperament is more even, and there is more space between my thoughts and actions. I am calmer and happier when I practice yoga. Just ask my family and coworkers for some conformation!
DISCOVER - I strongly advise taking the time to meditate or journal before or after your practice. This is a great time for such activities, since yoga puts you in a better frame of mind. I have personally gained a new perspective in areas where I needed to find tenderness or forgiveness. Some people are amazed to find strength that they didn't know they had. One of my students used this journaling time to decide that she really needed to show love for her father by planting his flowers since he no longer could. What each person discovers will vary greatly, but the impact can be great regardless.
Don't get me wrong, yoga offers a lot of great physical benefits. The poses help improve strength, flexibility, posture, and decrease pain. What I intend to share in this blog is the aspect of yoga that extends far beyond the physical. For me, this is where the exercise program ends and the real yoga begins.
Until next time, meditate, journal, and explore the world of yoga.
Namaste - Beth