FAQs: What Does Your Yoga Practice Mean to You and How Does it Help with Your Daily Life? (Bonus Yoga Exercise Included)
What does your yoga practice mean to you and how does it help with your daily life?
I get this question all the time. Often times by people who are curious about yoga, or even from people who do not believe in yoga. Whoever you may be, read on to learn more about what my yoga practice means to me and how it helps with my daily life! I have so much to share because yoga has taught me so many valuable lessons that I can apply to my life daily.
Yoga taught me how to be disciplined.
I started yoga during my first year of college. I didn’t start because of stress from school or work but, I started because of my super sore muscles from my workouts. I remember going on YouTube searching for yoga for sore legs and my legs felt great immediately after! The following morning, I went onto YouTube in search for a new video to try and landed onto Tara Stile’s channel. There, I found many short energizing morning yoga videos that you can do for as little as ten minutes. And before I know it, yoga became a part of my morning routine. Every morning I would roll out with my yoga clothes already worn under my bed sheet, and start off my day with yoga after a glass of water. I would repeat this again and again, and as a college student this form of discipline got translated into my studies. With work as a medical assistant on top of my studies, time management was the key to my success in doing well at school. And having the discipline to keep myself accountable has led to me to achieving many As!
Yoga taught me how to breathe and focus.
Would you believe it if I told you that I was actually breathing the incorrectly my whole life? I never knew until I started doing yoga on a consistent basis. After practicing yoga I realized I wasn’t breathing fully enough! I began to notice this because I became more aware of my breathing after yoga. I learned how to take deep inhales and exhales. To consciously experience the flow of air passing in and out through my body. In yoga, each breath is linked to a body movement. I started to apply this practice of breath awareness to simple daily life activities such as walking down the street, lifting weights and doing burpees at the gym, and even while talking to patients at work! What’s even more amazing is that breathing has not only brought clarity in my mind, but heightened my other senses. Especially in senses of touch.
Yoga taught me how to be balanced (both physically and mentally)
Growing up I did not have a good sense of balance. I would often trip and fall, and get a collection of bruises on my legs that I was not ashamed to show. This often leaves my Mother feeling very puzzled. How am I able to “trip” over nothingness? Even later when I started dancing, my balance still didn’t improve… but yoga did! Yoga taught me how to balance by equally distributing my body weight on my two standing feet. Although this may seem of minute significance, not standing correctly can lead to the development of misalignments/imbalances in our bodies and can greatly contribute to poor postural habits! In addition, by having the basic awareness of standing on your feet evenly, you’re also training your body how to use your supportive muscles more evenly and efficiently. What to learn how to stand correctly? Give this quick yoga exercise a try! You can do this as you’re waiting for the train or even when you’re waiting on the checkout line at a grocery store.
Bonus yoga exercise: How to Stand Correctly for better posture and body alignment
To learn how to stand evenly on your two feet, start by standing with your two feet hip distance apart and with your arms relaxed by your sides. Then, begin finding the three corners of your feet by lifting all of your toes off the floor. You should feel three points at the soles of your feet (one at the heel and two in the front of your feet - one should be at the ball of your big toe and the other at the ball of your pinky toe). Do you feel it? Once you find those three points you can spread your toes as wide as you can and then slowly rest them back down onto the ground. Try to consciously focus on how your toes are making contact to the floor as you release them. Now you may gently sway your body side to side, front to back, and around in small circles without moving your feet. You may close your eyes here to have a more enhanced experience. Focus on how your weight is shifting more onto one side of the foot than the other when your body is moving. Then when you’re done exploring, slowly come back to the middle so you’re standing nice and tall and your body weight falls right above your two feet. Your breathing should be relaxed and even throughout this entire exercise. Once you’re done, you may slowly open up your eyes. And smile! :) Now, you know how to evenly stand on your two feet!
So, how does yoga mentally train me to be balanced? When practicing a difficult yoga pose, I focus on regulating my breath to steady my mind and maintain my focus. This allows me to remain calm so I can focus on finding ease in a challenging yoga pose. And of course, to not fall out of one, such as a tree pose (duh)! Similarly, in real life we are often faced with many difficult situations. It is important and a necessary skill to be able to maintain a balanced state of mind and yoga has been really helpful in keeping me balanced and grounded.
Yoga is like my guide. It teaches me invaluable lessons that I can apply into my daily life, making me stronger, more balanced, and more resilient to challenging life situations. It keeps me open to reach out without fear for newer and richer life experiences that life has to offer. Yoga also acts like a bridge and helps me not only connect with my body and mind, but to also build meaningful relationships with the people I interact with wherever I go. This is what my yoga practice means to me and how it positively impacts my life.
I hope you enjoy reading this post and find the short yoga exercise useful! Did I inspire you to try yoga yet?
Till next time and have a feibulous day! xxo.