6 Reasons Yoga Will Rock even Your World

You may have already heard tons about it...yoga pants, yoga butt, tiny flexible girls in yoga pants with a great yoga butt, you know.

Although this is the case for some yogis, you will now see this stereotype squashed as we reveal the juicy rewards yoga can offer you. Not only is there more to yoga than you may have heard, there are also many more kinds of people than you would expect to find practicing.

A few years ago, I started practicing yoga for the same reason as many. I was frustrated about my fluctuating weight and constantly failing diets. I desperately wanted to find a workout routine that I could tolerate long-term.

My willingness to dive into something new brought me to a yoga studio. After some practicing (it's called a "practice" for a reason :) ), not only did I find myself succeeding in a rejuvenating physical workout, I discovered an entire way of life that's changing everything.

Whoa there! Maybe you're not ready to take on a whole new lifestyle? One of my favorite things about yoga is that you take from it what you need. Maybe you just want to tone up and are seeking a nonjudgmental atmosphere to break a sweat, and that's great! But, maybe you need more than that, and if you're like I was you may not even know it yet. I watch so many people make a living and survive, but so few know that a more peaceful and fulfilling life could happen for them.

SO! Six super reasons why yoga is the movin' and groovin' you've been craving...

1. Preventative health and stress management

Here in Cleveland we are experiencing full-blown Ohio winter, meaning temps that fluctuate so unexpectedly we could kick ourselves for not buying stock in cold meds. You can save yourself some trips to the drug store though, because yoga does wonders for your immune system. Improved function of the respiratory system, nervous system, muscles and joints, etc. leads to a higher success rate for fighting bacteria. Sounds fantastic! And although stress plays a significant role in a weakened immune system, yoga is ready to help you combat that, too. Proudly sweating and smiling my way to a healthy winter season sounds way better to me than feverish trips to the store and weeks spent hibernating in a sea of tissues.

2. Feel more alive in the present moment

Yoga, often incorporating meditation, shows our minds how to live in the moment. We are often so preoccupied with our past or so anxious about our future that we spend no actual time feeling the moment we're living in. Yoga instills positive habits like listening to your body, focusing on your alignment, taking a few minutes of meditation to process, breathing deeply, and so many more. Practicing helps these skills be second nature, and we become better at fully experiencing our lives. This improves our relationships, our (over-) reactions in uncomfortable situations, our memory of happy moments; it's a beautiful thing.

3. Finally, slow things down

Going along with this is the ability to slow your life down. Living in the moment eliminates the mind's endless race toward whatever is coming next all the time. You can actually enjoy the moments you are experiencing instead of always looking ahead, making time feel like it has actually stopped for a breath for once. Not only that, but we already know that yoga keeps our bodies healthy and reduces stress, which could lead to a longer lifespan. When I practice yoga, I know that I am giving myself the gift of health so that I may have more time to live out the meaningful life I desire.

4. Boost confidence and find your motivation

Before I practiced yoga I had very little confidence in my abilities, social situations, self-control, everything. Now I witness as my body and mind carry out new and amazing things I never thought I could achieve. Commitment to the practice and a peaceful lifestyle have shown me that we can truly accomplish anything as long as we are willing.  The dedication and strength yoga teaches shows us our full potential, and that saying we "can't" do something is merely a limit we put on ourselves in our minds. Once you are willing to believe in your abilities, you've already conquered your heaviest obstacle. This forward-moving lifestyle gives you continuous motivation and lovingly encourages you to reach for your biggest life goals.

5. Find "your people" in your community

Being at a yoga studio means being surrounded by good vibes from peaceful people who are working towards the same meaningful life that you are seeking. You can create friends from strangers, make connections with instructors and mentors to help you through your journey, and get to know the vibrancy of your community. At my studio I interact with everyone from local artists to surgeons to the chief of police, and it's refreshing to be in an environment where "neighbor" also means "friend."

6. And yes, the workout

After spending more than half of my life obsessed with counting calories, I can finally say this addiction is behind me. I woke up one day and realized I hadn't thought about losing weight for weeks, conquering a compulsion I've had for fifteen years. I owe this to the journey of yoga and meditation showing me that there is no "supposed to" when it comes to how we look. Now I work toward feeling comfortable in my own skin instead of desperately trying to change the body I was born with. All the while, I've realized my body has been strengthening through my practice this entire time. My metabolism rocks, my energy has increased, and as I continue to care for my mental health, my body continues to shape up.

Yoga can do amazing things for you if you are willing to show up and spend some time with yourself. You can decrease stress and anxiety, learn to slow down, find the path to loving who you are, and reach your full, amazing potential.

Trying to get healthy can feel exhausting and hopeless, but allowing this peaceful practice into your life, you discover how liberating self-care can be.

niki napier yoga snow
 

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