Skip the trendy workout yoga classes and commit to a high-quality practice.
Do you stare at the clock during your workout waiting for it to end? Or maybe you space out, staring glossy-eyed at a big-screen television while you step, run or elliptical your evening away. Exercise trends such as Zumba, Tae Bo, Jazzercise, P90X and Insanity come and go. Many styles of yoga fall into this category of providing a “quick fix” because they eliminate details and the depth of a thorough yoga practice. A workout style of yoga is a popular entry point for students. However, it often leaves them unsatisfied, injured and seeking more. Rather than chase instant gratification and a temporary solution to get healthy, try quality yoga for a full, meaningful and safe experience.
A Full-Spectrum Practice
At some point, you need depth in your yoga practice to achieve healthy, long-lasting results. Like a relationship, if you are bored and not enjoying yourself, it will be short-lived. If it is purely physical, it will burn out quickly. Yoga that provides insight and fitness is a great way to maintain a practice with radical depth. You can have fun, get fit, and continuously learn and evolve. A robust yoga practice delivers profound insights on alignment, while bringing your attention to the simplicity of the breath. Afterward, you feel more grounded in your mind. It’s this mind-body experience that makes you feel blissed-out after yoga and provides a richness in your practice.
A good yoga practice helps to find the value of its teachings in everyday life. Unlike working out, yoga classes have a specific focus or theme that is woven throughout the sequence. These are simple concepts that correlate with real-life situations. A theme could be something as simple as commitment or patience. It is a way to focus your practice and also helps to guide you in the sequence of poses you are working on. When you practice with a vision, it gives you a purpose that goes beyond the physical poses.
Acceptance Over Competition
Don’t live to do yoga. Practice yoga to live. Your physical body will go through many different evolutions through time as you grow with your yoga practice. Some poses you will achieve, some you won’t. You might be able to practice some poses today that you won’t come close to achieving in five years. The poses are fun, and are a great way to keep your vitality. However, a strong yoga practice helps you relish life and the things that matter most to you. The point is not whether you can put your foot behind your head or get into a handstand, but rather to practice showing up for the people and things you love most.
Yoga is one of the few times in your busy life where you can step away from the phone, computer and TV to really be present with yourself. With workouts, you can mindlessly go through the motions. In yoga, you have to be completely focused on the instruction, every movement and every breath. This focused attention creates a moving meditation where you can only be in that moment and you forget about the stress of life.
There is no limit to the ways you can approach the poses. The subtle nuances that you can focus on while working the biomechanics in your body provide a very tangible method to advance in your practice. Through this awareness, you find revelations in your body that are fascinating and keep you longing for more. Something as fundamental as how you shift your weight in your feet and the tendency to favor one side while balancing can make profound shifts in your practice and daily life. When you intellectualize the physical postures, rethink and rework them with healthy alignment, you open up your body and mind to the possibility of more.
The joy of yoga is to take what works for you and your gifts and offer them to others. You learn more about yourself and the practice when you are in conversation. It is powerful to experience a yoga class with your peers. It feels uplifting, and you bring one another to a higher level. You unconsciously put in more effort and feel more inclined to be at your best when you are in the company of others.
Overall, everyone wants to be healthy, fit and at their best. Working out is not a bad thing if done intelligently. In fact, most yoga is a great workout. But to say yoga is only a workout is like saying music is only a sound. Yes, fitness is an important part of most modern yoga systems, but it is only a piece of a very dynamic puzzle. Yoga has staying power because it is a great way to align all facets of your life so that you feel more complete and healthy.