Yoga is not competitive
I was reluctant at first to accept that yoga was not a sport, but now I embrace it. Any yoga practice is conducted independently, the space on a yoga mat is private to the owner. Postures are made unique by the anatomy of an individual’s body. The concentration demanded by balance, breathing and control in yoga classes draws attention inwards and detracts from the ned to constantly reevaluate one’s surroundings. This given, a yoga practice is entirely self absorbed and comparisons are impossible to make. With yoga, there is always one more limb to take off the floor: it is a journey and not a race, there are no winners.
Yoga creates a sense of empowerment
Yoga postures demand a very special sort of strength. Yoga postures also demand commitment. Building up to a full bridge pose took me months, but there was something so satisfying in building up the strength to achieve it. A sense of self worth can be found in the gradual construction of tiny muscles which work together to produce a bigger picture.
Yoga generates self-awareness
In the same way that yoga postures make us aware of our hidden strength, they encourage awareness and total acceptance of the body. Perhaps one leg is slightly longer than the other, one shoulder slightly higher, or one hip joint more flexible. The more we learn to appreciate our physical intricacies and imperfections, the more we develop an intimate practice. Gaining a wider perspective of the body helps us to cherish the small things it facilitates on a daily basis.
Yoga links our mind to our breath
The breath is the foundation for yoga practice. It helps us observe our emotional state and regulate our time in postures. We flow to the rhythm of our breath in vinyasa practice and use it in meditation. This use of the breath is both energising and relaxing.
Yoga encourages mental wellbeing
At the foundation of yoga practice is the joining of our mind to our breath. This alignment improves our concentration and detracts from the chattering of the mind, which would otherwise captivate us all day long. All yoga postures demand full attention, whether the posture is a balance, a bend or merely savansana, in which we observe the movement of the breath and sensations in the body. It is important to appreciate unique moments in the present, yoga draws our focus inward and away from the fast paced world outside.