Unless you have literally been living under a rock, you’ve heard of yoga. Chances are, you’ve tried it. But, what exactly is yoga? – And, if you are not currently practicing, why should you start?
a spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation.
There, article done! Hold a body position, breathe slowly, and meditate. If you don’t know how to meditate, start here.
Wait wait wait… hold on. There is far more to yoga than just holding a pose. Yoga is a complete integration of Mind, Body, and Spirit, and when used correctly, yoga can be a tool for complete transformation.
Hefty Promises there, bucko. I know, but trust me, my parents have owned a yoga studio for 16+ years, and I have seen that transformation time and time again. A curious mind comes in, tries a class for the physical benefits, and leaves transformed. The mind is quiet, the body is hardened, and the spirit is soaring. The true objective of yoga is not to get a great workout, but to unify Mind, Body, and Spirit.
Let’s start where we are all familiar, with the physical benefits! Maintain a normal yoga practice and you can expect to see the following:
- Increased flexibility
- Cardio and circulatory health
- Increased muscle strength and tone
- Improved respiration, energy and vitality
- A balanced metabolism
- Weight reduction
- Improved athletic performance
- Protection from injury
Sweet, you’re chiseled and looking hot. But we aren’t stopping there, let’s work on that mind! A consistent yoga practice will cultivate the following:
- Decreased Stress
- Increased Concentration
- Mental Clarity
- Increased body awareness
- Relief from chronic stress patterns
You look good. You feel good. Mission accomplished. There’s one additional benefit you’ll gain from yoga, that a majority of the Western practitioners don’t even realize:
Sounds like a gimmick, I know, but it’s not. Yoga is a tremendous, tangible exercise for your Spirit. Typically people focus on the physical strength it takes to hold a pose, the physical flexibility it takes to reach into the sky – well, it’s far more than that. The combination of breath work with physical movement creates the perfect training ground for active meditation.
I challenge anyone and everyone to integrate active mediation into their daily lives; the problem is people forget. We get so caught up in our day to day that we forget to keep that spiritual focus. This is where yoga comes in! Yoga gives you a tangible time to practice active meditation, and it’s far easier to remember then when you are being yelled at by your boss.
As you become better at holding the meditation mindset during your yoga, you will not only gain the physical benefits (which are extremely tangible, trust me), you will gain the calm – the peace – that you gain after a seated meditation. Eventually, the concentration and Will that it takes to hold an active meditation in yoga class will seem easy, and you will find yourself integrating that mindset into your everyday life.
Cool, Calm, Collected. Sounds great to me. It is! So… where should you begin?
If you are a busy bee, I highly encourage you to try out Yoga International’s Online Yoga Classes. It’s only 15 bucks a month for unlimited yoga, and they have literally any class you could think of – as well as beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. You can also take the classes with you and access the site from any of your devices. Yoga on the go? Yes please! Oh, and they will give you 30 days FREE to try them out. What do you have to lose?
If you are looking for in person classes, you have a few options. Obviously, I am super biased and would recommend Inner Connections Yoga and Whole Life Center. If you don’t live in Castle Rock, CO. Move here. If that didn’t talk you into Colorado, then I suggest using google to find a local studio. Family owned studios are typically focused on the true practice of yoga, as opposed to the physical workout that a lot of the big chains focus on. With that being said, 24 Hour Fitness has a great variety of yoga classes, and you can’t beat the 30 bucks per month for all that you get with them.
If you are practicing yoga at home, I still suggest you get the basics – a mat, some blocks, and a strap. With that being said, you can get by with not having anything, it’s just a little bit easier to have the proper equipment. On the other hand, if you are practicing in a studio, you will need some gear. If you like to save time, here is a sweet combo deal from Amazon that will give you everything you need. If you’re just looking for a mat, Gaiam has some high quality products that come in some real cool designs. Check those out here. For your blocks, grab a couple of those, and for a block/strap combo, check these out.
Here’s the deal, gang. I don’t care where you practice yoga, and I don’t care if you practice on a high quality mat or on a piece of cardboard – the important thing is that you give it a shot. It can help you in every aspect of your journey, and is a true life changer for many people. Thanks for stopping by!
Are you just getting started, or a yogic master? Let me know your story in the comments below!
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