I wanted to dedicate a post to the wonderful practice of Yoga. I have been venturing in and out of my yoga practice for almost 6 years now – sometimes engaging consistently each morning, at other times using yoga to cool down after an intense workout. However, it is only in the last three months that I have fully come to appreciate and understand the immense benefits of this incredible lifestyle.

Thanks to meeting a very inspiring yoga teacher who trained in India, I now know that yoga isn’t just a range of movements designed to aid with stress, relaxation, breathing and stretching (although yoga certainly does achieve all of these!) – in short, Yoga is a way of life.

Originating in India, the Sanskrit meaning of Yoga is ‘union’. It is through the union of mind, body and soul that we connect to divine consciousness (Brahman). Yogis believe that this connected experience moves us closer to liberation and enlightenment. (If the spiritual concept of yoga overwhelms you at this moment in time, do not feel discouraged!) For regardless of your spiritual or religious beliefs, yoga is sure to leave you feeling happier, less stressed, more in tune with your body and your personal needs, as well as the needs of others. Here’s why:

  1. Yoga is a journey to the self. When we connect our mind, body and spirit through our practice (with the aid of the breath), we move closer to our true, authentic nature. By letting go of the demands and stresses of our every day life, we are given the opportunity to regain some clarity and perspective over things. Through this connection to our deeper selves, we begin to see improvements in many areas of our lives, from improved relationships with others, as well as the relationship we have with our self.Yoga-spiritual-journey
  2. Yoga improves our overall sense of happiness and well being. As we learn to disconnect from our busy lives – our moods are lightened, our ability to remain composed under pressure increases and we leave our mats feeling a greater sense of peace and calm. Not to mention the fact that your body will feel stronger, leaner and more balanced. Nothing feels better than the feeling you get from being in complete alignment with your self and your body. Yoga helps us to achieve this.i-really-regret-that-yoga-class-today-said-no-one-ever-811e8
  3. Yoga helps us to remain present. Much of our time is spent fretting over the past or worrying about the future. Yoga reminds us to breathe, to let go of the burdens of the past and the uncertainty of the future so that we can embrace the present moment. When we truly connect with our yoga practice, every thing else just seems to melt away. That feeling of being present can stay with us long after we have left the mat and can remain for hours, even days afterwards.yoga-present-moment
  4. Yoga teaches us about ourselves and the way we respond to life. Much of yoga is about learning how we react and cope with every day circumstances. How do we behave when we can’t hold a pose? Do we become frustrated? Do we shut down and give up? Are we critical of ourselves? Yoga is about becoming aware of our physical and emotional reactions and teaches us to work through them. In short, yoga can be a little bit like therapy. Stuff comes up that we didn’t even know was there – and when we leave our yoga practice, we can come away feeling much lighter having recognised and released some of the habits and blockages that have been holding us back.yoga-touching-toes-learn-way-down3
  5. Yoga is a great way to connect. Whether you prefer to practice on your own at home or to seek out a great class to attend – yoga connects us. Discovering a shared love of yoga with others is a wonderful way to meet like-minded people. Taking your yoga outside is a great way to connect with nature. Even when practicing alone, we are connecting with the divine. Yoga is just that – a union; of body, mind and soul, as well as a connection to the greater collective whole.

Namaste

Hayley xx

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