I’ve composed a few free writes regarding yoga in the past, and each time I did so the content and the message I attempted to convey changed slightly. Looking back on old journal entries or instagram posts, I see a growth in my practice, and a vicissitude in my understanding of what yoga truly is. I’ve decided to share my yogi thoughts with all of you looking for a little yoga inspiration.
Yoga has always been a way for my mind to escape from whatever it needed to escape from at the time. Whether it was school, work, or relationships that agitated me; yoga seemed to be the cure for anything and everything. It has also been a form of exercise for me. I’ve gained more strength and flexibility from yoga than from any other form of exercise I’ve ever done. Yoga elongates the spine, it tones the muscles, it forces the body to use muscles it doesn’t normally use, and it lubricated the joints. Yoga helps the body recover from damage, both mental and physical. Yoga nourishes the blood by forcing the body to draw in deep exhales as it also allows the body to consciously force stale air out. Yoga protects the joints, and moves synovial fluid around the joins consequently lubricating them, cushioning them, and preventing damage. Yoga forces you to use your fingers, and your toes, encouraging grip strength to develop, and reminding the body to align the feet properly. Yoga helps prevent plantar fasciitis by allowing the body to consciously elongate the bottoms of the feet during a simple stretch. Yoga heals, and loves, because it teaches you to recognize your strengths and weaknesses within the physical body so you may correct whatever needs to be corrected and work toward the goal of creating the ultimate self.
I used to think that those who only did yoga because it was a strenuous exercise were not true yogis, but I was very wrong. I used to think that if you didn’t attempt to incorporate mindfulness into your practice, and you only did yoga to look a certain way, that you were missing out on what yoga is truly about.
I know now that no matter what brings you to your mat, whether it is so called instafame, popularity, a better physique, or mindfulness, they’re all in the same. Eventually, the practitioner will develop mindfulness, and understand why they are truly there regardless of why they came to their mat in the first place. For some, this may take some time. For others, it will happen so fast it will feel like their soul has hit a brick wall as it rapidly awakens from an unconscious state of mind.
Essentially, yoga forces the practitioner to focus their breath through each posture. The yogi concentrates and meditates even when they don’t believe they are doing so. Over time, the yogi no longer needs to focus on consciously pairing breath with movement because it will automatically happen. The ability to combine breath with movement on the mat, will then allow the body to do so off the mat. This inevitably leads to a mind body connection at home, during a commute, and while at work. You begin to make conscious decisions, you begin to feel more liberated, your body beings to move in ways it didn’t before, you react to things differently, the body calms down. You become mindful.
Right in this moment, as I write this entry I am thinking about yoga in a certain way. This might change slightly as it has changed in the past. For right how however, if someone were to ask: Why yoga? I would reply, because yoga = mindfulness. Mindfulness = happy, healthy, successful life. It’s as simple as that.
Go buy a yoga mat.