Here's the thing about yoga. Though universally accepted as wonderful and life-changing, the experience is different for everyone. Not only because there is a vast abundance of different styles and classes, but because we are all vastly different - within, and without. Some pick up a yoga practice to lose weight. Some come to class for the spirituality. Some step into a studio for the first time and have absolutely no idea why, only that something within them likes the way the mat sticks to their toes, and that they get to rest for five minutes at the end.
And for this reason, it can be difficult to explain the benefits of yoga to someone who has never tried it. Even as a yoga teacher, I get tongue tied and trip over my words. So instead of listing the everyday health benefits like flexibility and stress relief, I've compiled a little love story of the reasons I do yoga. You might experience all of these, or none of them. But I suppose that's the beauty of it.
1. I do yoga because of the way my mat seems to scream at me from across the room until I press my feet firmly down, and then all the world is a sigh.
2. Because of the sudden sweat that reminds me how much I can do for my body by moving very little.
3. Because as smelly and old as my mat is, it is still my sanctuary.
4. I do yoga because it shows me that I still have a long way to go. That my hips are still tights and full of secrets. That I've been storing too much in my body.
5. Because it reminds me that being busy isn't necessarily a good thing.
6. Because it reminds me that everything exists in this moment.
7. Because it reminds me.
8. I do yoga because for some strange reason, this subtle movement helps me to connect to Spirit.
9. I do yoga because sometimes, the subtle things are the most powerful.
10. I do yoga when my head is full of voices and my eyes blur over and I know that gripping the mat with both hands is the only way I can wipe the fog from my brain.
11. Because if I don't move, my joints turn into ice.
12. Because yoga cracks everything loose.
13. I do yoga because my need for stillness eclipses my need for movement.
14. Because it reminds me that I am still young.
15. Because it helps me to admire the changes of my body.
16. I do yoga because sometimes I fall from Bakasana and squish my face into the mat. But I have always gotten back up.
17. I do yoga not to define my muscles or strengthen my core, but to break open my own heart, and allow the old stuff to drop out onto the rubber.
18. Because moving slowly makes me happier than moving fast.
19. Because it heals every fraying end.
20. Because I've learned that nothing is beautiful until you nestle in and find comfort in the discomfort.
21. Because without it, I lose myself.
Now tell me - why do YOU do yoga?
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