As the massive loads of stress people face grow exponentially, so does yoga’s popularity in the western world. More and more people are relying on this ancient practice to relieve stress and soothe chronic pain. However, most people do not know the secret to why yoga works and how to truly transcend the body to achieve full benefits of the exercise they perform.
Many different types of yoga exist in the modern world. After googling yoga classes, people are often confused about where to start their journey. The variety of options is enough to scare you off the mat for sure. How do people figure out which types are true representations of yoga, and which ones are a perfect fit for them?
If we truly want to practice yoga, we must look for a traditional class that includes, at the very least, pranayama and deep relaxation techniques. These two specific practices will take us to a blissful state with mastery over mind, slowing down our thoughts. Especially in a culture in which we rush from one day to the next, constantly trying to change our health, body, or emotions, or to plan our future, yoga opens up the possibility of connecting to what we already have—to who we already are. Traditional hatha yoga is slow-moving and involves the breath synchronized with body motions. Sometimes, longer holds on poses give our body a chance to tap into our parasympathetic nervous systems, allowing us to experience a deeper relaxation. Yoga offers self-reflection, kindness, self-compassion, continued growth, and self-awareness. Taking such an ancient study and applying it to the modern world is an invaluable skill.
However, we must also recognize that yoga was developed thousands of years ago with a drastically different lifestyle. We cannot simply accept all the thing in the yoga philosophy and try to apply them in our day-to-day lives. Some practices are impractical to regularly keep up with, considering our busy schedules. To reap the benefits of yoga most effectively, we must adapt it to our individual lives. Practicing yoga is one of the few times where we can step away from the phone, computer, and television to really be present with ourselves—to enjoy and obtain its full benefits, improving health as well as personality! We should not structure our lives around yoga, but rather use it as a way to support our lives and improve our well-being.
Don’t live to practice yoga; practice yoga to live.