By Bhavan Kumar
As we struggle along on our physical journey of life, we can often feel unsatisfied and unfulfilled in our spiritual life. The day-to-day minutiae and stresses of modern life take their toll. Committing yourself to an exercise program can be a little intimidating; especially yoga.
However, I can speak from experience as to what an awesome and profound change both teaching and practicing yoga has done for me.
Before I started on this journey, I was successful yet spiritually unfulfilled. I was also becoming very lax with my diet and exercise. I was a runner but had always wanted to try yoga after hearing of its spiritual and physical benefits.
Finally a friend convinced me to come join him at a class. I was hooked. The relaxation of my body and especially my mind after that first class was unforgettable.
Since then my everyday practice of yoga has been essential to developing both my mind and body. My inner growth has in many ways far exceeded any physical changes I have seen from my yoga. I am more relaxed. My focus is laser-like. My mental endurance has increased ten fold.
This journey wasn't without its obstacles, however. There were many times I was frustrated with my progress and mentally drained from issues in other areas of my life. Many times a seat on the couch and a glass of wine seemed much more inviting than teaching a class.
Complacency can be very inviting. This is where our dedication shines through. It is only during these times that we can truly tell we have grown during our quest: when we say no to the couch and the glass of wine and yes to a truly relaxing and strengthening exercise: Yoga.
Through consistent practice you can hone your mind and spirit into the exact shape and form you wish. I can't tell you it will be easy but I know it will be worth it.
These days, my students and fellow teachers, are what inspire me to continuously push myself, and my mind to grow, to be more conscientious of the world around me, as well as the world within me.
The Inward Journey of Yoga Practice
Yoga has been seen as a spiritual and movement practice for thousands of years. It is as much an inner quest as much as it is an outer one. Your body, mind and spirit all reap the benefits of an effective yoga practice that carries over to life outside the studio.
The Focus on Meditation
Yoga and meditation have walked through the centuries hand-in-hand. The focus on breath control while practicing the asanas is a moving meditation that allows students a moment of respite from the stress of the mundane world. It also deepens meditation off the mat as well.
The Battle with Stress
Regular yoga practice has been shown to reduce the levels of stress practitioners experience as well as help them cope with stressors through the day. Having a better grip on stress puts more you in touch with your spiritual side throughout the day.
Set Your Intentions
Moving through a yoga sequence in the morning helps you set your intentions for the day and remain positive in the face of obstacles. Committing to bettering your mind and body influences your spirit to strive for better results as well.
The Benefits of Consistent Practice
Unlike many of the things we enjoy in the 21st century yoga is not a one-stop quick fix. It may take weeks, months or years of consistent practice to begin seeing real results. For most people it won't take that long before they begin to notice some benefits.
Take the Good Vibes with You
Some exercise classes give you an hour of time with your body while yoga gives you a longer-lasting effect. You leave class in a positive mood and lighter than when you stepped on the mat.
Being in the Present Moment
Moving through the asanas and focusing on your breath and body allows you to be present in the only moment you really have: now. As you deepen your practice you may find you worry less about the future and spend more time enjoying the present and appreciating the lessons of the past.
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