The Benefits of a Daily Practice
It may well be one of the most popular yoga hashtags in social media- #yogaeveryday. Diving beyond the cult-like following of this particular social media phenomena- what are the benefits of rolling out your yoga mat every day? Eastern and Western medical experts and health practitioners alike have come to agree that indeed, dedicating yourself to a yoga practice has significant benefits, on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. In India, where yoga first originated, yoga is a daily practice, that being, yoga in all of its entity- from asana (the physical postures) to pranayama (breathing techniques), to meditation. Besides working up a sweat and discovering how to twist your body into pretzel-like shapes, yoga offers a plethora of lessons that can be directly integrated into our everyday lives with great benefits.
The gift of space:
‘I don’t have time for yoga’ is a common perception in a modern society that has come to glorify the concept of having a busy and hectic lifestyle. A daily yoga practice needn’t look like a full 90-minute class prior to the sun rising. A daily yoga practice may look like 30 minutes one day, a ten-minute meditation another day and perhaps 45 minutes of flow and breath work the next. The duration of time is less important than the dedication to showing up. Making time to spend on your mat each day does not take time away from you, it does the opposite. Yoga gifts you time and space-time and space for yourself, and time and space to be more present with the other people in your life. A daily practice opens up more space for compassion, understanding, connection and integrity. A common sensation one feels directly after yoga is a sensation of spaciousness. And this spaciousness expands in direct correlation to your ability to show up to your practice.
The gift of self-care:
No matter what we have going on in our lives, the need to take care of ourselves is non-negotiable. Dedicating time to a daily practice is an offering to yourself and a clear statement that says ‘I am worthy.’ Your yoga practice isn’t selfish; it isn’t any less important than the other dozen things on your to-do list. In fact, taking time to nurture and nourish yourself ensures you have the energy and mindset to tackle whatever may show up in your world. Filling up your own cup, your own love tank, is essential to being able to show up for the other people and commitments in your life.
The gift of presence:
How often do you get to the end of the day and realise you were not really present in it at all?! We tend to move on auto piolet, always one step in the future or looking back into the past, instead of really being firmly grounded in the here and now. Yoga is one of the most powerful ways to literally pull yourself into the present moment. Here, you find your breath, you find stillness, you find surrender, you find clarity and you find yourself. Stepping onto your mat is almost like stepping into the eye of the storm- a place where no matter what may be whirling about outside of you, you find peace within you. And you carry this peace and presence back into your life.
Filling up your own cup, your own love tank, is essential to being able to show up for the other people and commitments in your life.
The gift of movement:
On a physical level, yoga does indeed offer a plethora of benefits for the body. From assisting digestion, increasing strength and flexibility, toning muscles, creating limber joints, supporting spinal health and alleviating pain, yoga has been proven to be a tremendous tool both for healing and for prevention. Keeping the body mobile is becoming even more important in a society that is increasingly dominated by a sedentary lifestyle. On an emotional level, movement can help to boost our mood and offer a more positive and optimistic outlook on life. A ‘yoga high’ is a real occurrence that you find through your daily practice.
The gift of grounding:
Yoga has the magical ability to indeed lift us up, and also, ground us down. Yoga connects us to primal elements within us, rooting us to the earth and to our bodies in an empowering way. When we feel grounded, we can move through life with clarity and purpose. We can make decisions with ease, we can connect with our ‘gut feeling’ or our intuition, and we can walk confidently through life. Yoga grounds us in the present moment and reminds us of the fact that these physical bodies of ours are here to assist us to walk purposely through life. A daily practice maintains this connection, this strength and this resolution to walk your chosen path.
The gift of inspiration:
There is an inherent beauty in the practice of yoga. It has a softness and grace and offers a journey through which we discover new things about ourselves and the world around us. Yoga inspires us to be better people, to follow the things that set our hearts on fire, and to be the change we wish to see in the world. Yoga develops connection, and the lessons of the rich yogic texts are still embedded in each and every practice, reminding us of our common nature, that we are indeed, all connected, all one. Yoga unites us, whether we are in a yoga studio or in our own home, as the power of the practice moves beyond borders and creates a community, a way of life, that permeates our existence in the most beautiful of ways. Yoga reminds us of our infinite potential.
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