9 Reasons to Love Your Yoga Practice

 Image credit: Pete Saloutos Photography

Image credit: Pete Saloutos Photography

1) Seussian portability.

On a plane or on a train, in a car, here or there, near or far... yoga can be practiced wherever you are--gardens, studios, parks, living rooms, bedrooms, boardrooms, lunchrooms, offices, atriums, gymnasiums, airports, hotel rooms. It’s wireless and portable. All that’s really needed is you in a relatively quiet, comfortable room with open floor space —and of course, depending on how physical the practice, comfy clothing and a mat can be helpful, but even these are optional.

2) Conspicuous contentment.

With regular practice, you will breathe more deeply, eat more lightly, sleep more soundly, move more fluidly, see more clearly, speak more freely, laugh more easily, love more wholly, and live more fully.

3) Breathing room.

Sometimes we all need a little break from the business of life.  We need space to breathe, rest, and rejuvenate our experience of who we are. Yoga offers us the space to simply be.  

4) Tried and true.

Yoga has been around for centuries.  It’s a profound and proven integral system for self-realization that transforms one’s entire being.  Through simple poses and breathing practices, we learn to shift our attention from the external to the internal.  Through concentration and meditation practices, we learn how to be with ourselves and abide in the truth of who we are.  Through awareness and compassion, we learn to see ourselves in each other.  Finally, we learn to seamlessly navigate these inner and outer dimensions of experience as a holistic whole.

5) Sublime sattva.

sattva (sahth´vah) [Sanskrit] the purest aspect of nature, characterized by light, grace, and calm; responsible for the contentment of mind and body, and associated with the consciousness, or intelligence that maintains well-being.

From a yogic perspective, there are three primary aspects of nature present to varying degrees in each one of us and all living things—sattva (purity, light, harmony, intelligence), rajas (activity, restlessness, passion), and tamas (dullness, inertia, ignorance). These inherent qualities of being influence who we are, what we do, and how we experience the world. Basically, when we're feeling agitated or driven with maybe a tad of manic or panic, we are likely overdosing on rajas, whereas sluggish, dull, apathetic experience characterizes excessive tamas. However, whenever we're feeling balanced, healthy, and content, we're enjoying a healthy dose of sattva, the state of being most conducive to making smart decisions, meaningful commitments, and genuine connections. Yoga helps you soak up the sattva.

6) Cool heads, warm hearts, hot buns.

Yup, it’s true.  Yoga develops your awareness, improves your mental clarity, reduces emotional reactivity, cultivates compassion, enhances well-being, and still tones your tush.  Need I say more? 

7) Revolutionary resilience.

Into each life a little rain must fall, but then, there are the perfect storms that rip away the foundations of your reality and leave your life in shambles.  Yoga is what allows you to stand amidst the rubble with dignity and gratitude.  It is what allows you to embrace the new beginning at the end of the world with a resilience that you didn’t know you had.  When you get the wind knocked out of you, and you regain your breath more readily, forgive more easily, pick yourself up and dust yourself off more gracefully, and then, reach out a hand to help another.  That’s when you become a yogi, and that’s why you practice, whatever the forecast.

8) Exclusive membership in Club Namaste.

Just kidding.  Yoga is an inclusive tradition.  No matter what your personal beliefs, capacities, and predispositions, the yogic tradition honors the diversity of human experience, using your natural abilities and tendencies to deepen and broaden how you experience the life within, between, and all around you. 

Although the traditional greeting of “Namaste” is sometimes more of a hollow affectation brandished by soft-spoken, self-professed “I’m so spiritual” yoga folks in the pop culture yoga scene, it’s still worth noting that one of the benefits of genuine spiritual practice is that you begin to regularly experience the sacred in yourself, in others, and in the world around you.  If speaking a word aloud helps remind you, divine.  If you can embrace and embody the word, even better. The divine in me sees the divine in you however we choose to greet each other.

9) Better zzzzzzzs. 

And last, but not least, yoga helps us rest easy, offering more energy during the day, and more rest at night...or vice versa, whatever melts your butter.