Wednesday, July 9, 2014

To Skeptics: 3 Reasons Why I Like Yoga

     (Caution: Open mind required to read this post)

I like listing my favorite things, and something that always makes the top ten is yoga.
But don’t click away yet! 

     It seems that people either really love yoga or think its ridiculous, but today I’d like to give a few thoughts you may have never considered regarding the subject. They are in the form of the top three reasons why I will do yoga until I’m old and senile (and beyond). 
  What are those reasons? 1. Yoga is invigorating. 2. Yoga is a lifestyle. 3. Yoga can be spiritually uplifting (or not).

 1. Yoga is invigorating. It is exercise that is both challenging and relaxing at the same time. There are different types of yoga for relaxation/restoration, strength building, etc. The type I do the most is Power Yoga, which is meant to strengthen the body and provide more of a cardiovascular workout than the others. 
      Although the movements are not rapid and do not appear to be high in intensity, yoga is a great form of exercise that builds lean muscle (as well as flexibility) in every muscle group. And the end of a tough practice usually includes restorative stretching and resting flat on one's back, taking a few minutes to simply relax
2. Yoga is a lifestyle. One of the key things that I have learned from practicing yoga is how to listen to my body. The more I practice yoga, the more I am able to discern what my body actually needs, as opposed to what my habits, emotions, etcetera tell me I need. During a yoga practice, yogis are instructed to listen to their bodies by way of noticing how certain movements feel, where muscles feel tight, what needs to be relaxed, what needs to be strengthened. 

Practicing this during yoga has helped me practice it during daily life as well, especially in the area of what I eat. Instead of eating mindlessly, often giving in to cravings, I am more thoughtful about what I consume, taking note of how certain foods make me feel after I eat them. This has aided me in taking steps towards being the healthy eater that I want to be. 

3. Yoga can be spiritually uplifting (or not).  I realize that yoga is often associated with eastern religion and things, which is a part of some yogis’ lifestyles that I do not share. Meditation and yoga go together most of the time, which is something that I have found beneficial; however, instead of practicing eastern style mediation, I meditate on Jesus and on his words.  

In reality, yoga can be as spiritual or as unspiritual as you want it to be because in and of itself, it is just movements, like dancing, walking, or any other physical activity. I often choose to incorporate spirituality in Jesus with my yoga practice because following him and the Bible are very important to me, and I’ve found that my thoughts are more focused while thinking about his words and practicing at the same time. I like starting my day strengthening my body and soul together. But the movements are strengthening, relaxing, and healthy by themselves without any intentional spirituality included. 

So there you have it. Maybe you’re still not into it, or maybe you’ve loved yoga for years…Everyone is different, but I hope this post has helped you see why yoga can be beneficial. 


Want to try it out? Here are some of my favorite yoga vids that could be a good place to start: 

Yoga with Adriene: Strengthen and Lengthen

Mark Gonzales Power Yoga: Onse1f

1 comment:

  1. This is great, Aria! I think you're right, especially among some Christians it can be seen as focused on eastern religions when it doesn't necessarily have to be. It also seems that we Christians in America could (generally speaking) do a better job at staying healthy not only spiritually, but also physically as well. We have so many more opportunities in life when we're healthy!