At the beginning of every semester, I start preparing for what's ahead and set goals for myself. Whether that is eating a healthier diet, focusing more on my fitness goals, or taking naps between my classes, I always try to set objectives in order to balance my mental and physical state of mind. This semester, I decided to focus carefully on myself despite everything else going on around me.
To do so effectively, I became determined to pursue a passion for yoga.
Until I tested the waters myself, I always heard people talking of the satisfaction they received after completing a yoga class and all the healthy benefits that came with it. Not only did they feel better physically, but the art of stretching and expanding the mind allowed them to alter their mental state as well.
Even while hearing about these positives experiences, I always thought that practicing yoga was the equivalent of taking a supplement for weight loss; pointless and ineffective.
However, after completing my first yoga class, I realized that the focus on your body and mind is much more powerful than torturing yourself lifting heavy weights in the gym or struggling to catch your breath running outside. Yoga goes beyond simply trying to adopt a new, fit lifestyle. It allows you to focus more intently on breathing and listening to yourself, causing you to become a more conscious and mindful individual.
Before I found my inner passion for yoga, I relied too heavily on working out and the company of my friends and family to keep me happy. After a long, stressful day of classes, I would drain my body even more by attempting to hit the gym. I was not listening to myself and did not realize that the one thing I needed was relaxation. So, I was doing quite the opposite. And, just like my attitude was negative when I walked into the gym, I walked out feeling the same way.
I couldn’t keep feeling so down about myself. It was after seeing no positive change in my mental and even physical state that I had to find another way to maintain my health goals. I thought, “you know what, why don’t I just TRY yoga and see for myself.” I began reading articles about different types of yoga, inspiring yoga quotes, and the ways in which each position triggers the mind.
Two days into this, I was officially hooked. Through this practice, I learned how to more easily cope with stressful situations and work to make progress on my mental health. The beauty of yoga is that it allows you to expand your mind and see the light at the end of the tunnel.
There are many positives that come with practicing yoga. However, one of the greatest parts about it is the fact that you are doing it for you, and you only. Participating in yoga is solely for your own benefit. It is not about the cute yoga mat you bought, the work out clothes you wear, the expensive classes or whether you are better or worse than the person practicing next to you.
Yoga allows you to escape reality for an hour or two and listen to yourself, something we don’t naturally do often. With that being said, find the yoga practice that fit your goals and promise yourself to stick to it.
Whether you seek out yoga to benefit your mental health, physical health, or simply to try something new for a change, taking the initiative and testing your limits is rewarding. Allow the practice of yoga to expand your mind and became a new part of your life. You’d be surprised at the outcome.