The Benefits of Being a Sometimes-Yogi
Sometimes people can get stuck in an “all-or-nothing” way of thinking. I don’t think “all-or-nothing” is how it has to be with anything: Why not find the middle ground, the compromise?
When it comes to yoga, people think, “If I can’t do it every day (or five times a week), then what’s the point? What benefits will I be getting?”
Well, you may never strike the compass arm balance or do a pike handstand if you do yoga just once or twice a week, but there are many, many benefits that doing yoga any amount at all will lead to, including:
- Peace of mind
- Calm, capable self
- Healthier eating choices
- More flexible body and mind
- Clear, more radiant skin
Yoga brings you back to you. It connects you to you. When you do yoga—however often or not so often—you are reminded to check back in with yourself, see what is going on, and respond accordingly. By taking the lens inward, you stop ignoring yourself, and if there are any issues to address, you can see what they are and start to take the steps to address them.
RELATED: You can do yoga anywhere. Just check out Heidi Kristoffer doing full wheel pose in an antique shop.
When you are tapped into you, you become more aware of how your body is feeling and what does and does not make you feel good. With the heightened awareness that yoga brings, you notice the foods that fuel your body, and you notice the things you put in your body that make you feel not so great. When you become aware of these things, you can then make informed decisions—usually wiser ones—about what you intake. Becoming aware on this level leads to your body finding its healthiest, happiest weight. When the things you ingest are in line with what makes your body feel great, you bring in less garbage, which also clears up your skin. That, coupled with the increased oxygen from all of the breathing in yoga, leads to a radiant glow.
In yoga, we do a number of balancing poses. I always tell my classes to have fun with them on days when balance isn’t so great (we all have better balance some days than others!). If you can learn to have fun struggling with your balance on your yoga mat, you can learn to have fun struggling with balance in life—never underestimate the power of the ability to laugh at yourself!
RELATED: Give your hips, shoulders, and hamstrings a nice stretch by following our step-by-step breakdown for compass pose.
Your body and your mind are connected: When you stop trying to force things, ideas, or shapes, it allows you to open when you are ready. Flexibility comes in both the body and mind in yoga, over time. Learning to go with the flow in any situation can make life infinitely more pleasant. Learning to stop fighting the natural progression of things and allowing things to happen in a timeframe that isn’t your own is a great tool.
Yoga teaches us to be happy where we are—right here, right now. The ability to be in the present, and not thinking about the past or worrying about the future, creates a tremendous sense of ease and peace of mind.
Give yoga a try! See how it makes you feel, and watch your mind, body, and world open up!
Photo: Vera Boykewich