By Rachael Roberts
We all know Yoga is recommended for physical and mental health, but have you ever wondered why some people commit to the practice and others don’t? When I tell people I teach Yoga, they either tell me they couldn’t possibly live without it or “I tried it but it wasn’t for me” with an explanation about something that uncomfortably challenged them.
The practice of Yoga should come with a clear message: if you commit, it will teach you more about yourself than anything else. I will attempt to convince you of why.
The stillness and the stretch of the poses are not easy. Whether it’s a beginners or advanced class. But the nature of the physical challenge shows you who you really are. How you experience and accept yourself, your limits and ability. Yoga will stimulate both a physical and mental response. From the beginning of a class, the variety of these responses from students is clear: some people breathe louder, sweat more and others are looking around the room doubting or comparing themselves. In Shavasana, you can see some people embrace and others find discomfort in lying still.
How you do anything is how you do everything
So how do you respond? What was your experience if you tried Yoga, loved it, or did you not go back? It’s likely that you are responding to Yoga in the same way you do to work, relationships and life in general. Your experience on the mat will absolutely make you question this and from my experience I believe that for some people, this is an unexpected benefit, but others are not ready to accept the discomfort. Which person are you?
You might be wondering why my experience has taught me this? It’s partly down to my own journey with Yoga: I found that it completely changed the way I saw myself, physical exercise and my relationship with balance (not the physical poses). I have always loved exercise but doing too much impacted my health negatively. Yoga slowed me down both physically and mentally; when I found the stillness of the practice, the kind words of teachers and how they approached the physical practice, it taught me to be kinder to myself. This was the lesson I most needed to learn about myself. I found this approach literally turned my frown upside down, going inward made my external world much more pleasant because I knew I could escape to that blissful stillness on my mat.
Naturally, I over did Yoga too! (Lessons will be repeated). However, further study of Yogic philosophy on the Studio One teacher training showed me that the path and purpose of Yoga was bigger than me and the practice meant so much more than the amount of poses you do in one day. So it forced me to reflect on the person I wanted to be. What space and opportunities could I create for my physical and mental health if I did not do too much or have too much of anything? What I learned is that balance brought me richness in my physical and mental health.
The magical carpet ride
Every time I get on my mat to practice or teach, I learn something new about myself. That’s why I call it my magical carpet ride!
It isn’t necessary to apply Yogic philosophy to learn about yourself, but consistency is key! I invite you to consider: what is it that you connected to in Yoga? Maybe it was the way you saw or appreciated your physical body? Perhaps it improved your performance in other sports or completely changed your outlook on life? If you know, let us know at Studio One!
See you on the mat.