5 Reflections On 5 Years Of Practicing Yoga
I have been practicing yoga for a little over 5 years now. It all began as part of a journey to heal from mental health issues I had been struggling with as a result of losing my mom to cancer. I needed to find some balance in my life.
I don’t remember if yoga was recommended to me or if it just fell into my lap. I do remember that I felt a very strong desire to join a rock climbing gym that also had a yoga studio attached, which was included in the membership. It was there that I took my first yoga lesson, and it was in that class that I actually met my boyfriend of the next 3 years. It’s now been over 5 years since that fateful yoga class, and here are 5 reflections on 5 years of my yoga practice:
1. I feel more connected to my body. Before I started practicing yoga, I saw myself more as a floating head or brain with a body attached to it. Since I started practicing yoga, I have had to see my body in a new way—for the very physical container that it is. It has inspired me to take better care of it and to appreciate it more.
2. My body has healed itself. Yoga opens the body to natural healing mechanisms, releasing toxins, including toxic emotions, just as much as it strengthens, stretches, and tones the body. It’s a practice of balance— releasing of the old, and creating of the new— new and better-performing muscles, sinews, and chemical compounds created within the body.
3. My diet has changed. When you start practicing yoga, your body begins a natural healing process in which certain foods no longer sit well with it. You will be more guided by your intuition as a result of practicing yoga, which can open the third eye— the intuition and the seat of the soul. You will be guided to eat a more natural and whole diet. Your
4. I’m more mindful. I am more mindful of how certain situations make me feel and about how other people make me feel than I was before. Yoga is a practice that encourages mindfulness not just on the mat but in all areas of life. The transformation that occurs on the mat extends outwards. Everything is connected. It’s not just an exercise class that you do to check a checkmark of completing exercise for the day. The benefits continue to develop the more you practice.
5. I’ve met a lot of really great people through yoga, including a (former) boyfriend. Yoga has this way of naturally connecting people. Whether you connect with a great teacher, with other people in class, or even people off the mat who tell you they also practice, there is a natural connection to something bigger than yourself that may or may not be understood but it can certainly be felt. It is a teaching of yoga to connect us to God—this feeling of something greater than ourselves, and to the knowing that everything is God at its core.
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