Update: I no longer practice at a studio, I have a personal practice at home and I’ve started teaching practice forum classes on the weekends and private lessons at my loft.
A little background: I received my 200 hour teaching certification from Core Power Yoga studios and 80% of the classes I attended were Hot Power Fusion classes.When I started my journey in teacher training at Core Power Yoga, one of our homework assignments was to write an essay for the prompt: “What is yoga? Why do I practice yoga?”. Sometimes I still find myself revisiting this question when I am deciding after a hectic day at work whether or not to get on my mat.
I first began my love affair with yoga when I started going to classes at 24 hour fitness because I wanted to supplement my gym workouts and running. The reasons I practice today (I will write another piece on my spiritual development through yoga) are much more developed than they were 3 years ago. It wasn’t until last year later that I started really exploring my love for asanas (form) and pranayama (breathe).
The word ‘Yoga’ comes from the sanskrit word yug which means to join. Yoga connects the mind and body through asanas or positions and is preparation of the body the body for deep meditation . It has been a great tool for practicing of mindfulness to connect to my higher spirit. A practice that I have noticed extends to other areas in my life and helped me understand myself better.
I practice yoga because it teaches me a lot about myself through self study and allows me to spend a dedicated amount of time looking inward and reflecting on how I’m feeling and helps me notice the concerns I have from the external concerns with my job and with my relationships. It allows me to focus only on myself and brings awareness of when I am focusing on other people and circumstances outside of my control (e.g. how often my mind leaves the mat to think about the various anxieties and insecurities I have). These are the reasons why I have a dedicated self practice.
1) Noticeable Benefits:
– Teaching myself the balance between striving to be better and at the same time being gentle with myself.
– Physical benefits: I am much stronger and I have much more energy than I did before
– Mental benefits: mental clarity, and focused and relaxed
– Emotional benefits: I am always in a better mood after a yoga class, because I usually explore and emotions that come up during practice (doubt, fear, love, anger, happiness).
2) Practicality: I enjoy the physical workout and at the same time I practice mental strengthening. It is a two birds with one stone type situation for me. Having such a busy life, yoga allows me to combine two areas of my life that I strive to improve everyday. It also helps supplement my other workouts (weights and running). I have less pain when I practice yoga on top of other physical activities.
3) Space to explore emotions: I practice yoga because it helps put me in a vulnerable place and it helps me open my heart a little. At the end of every class I feel a little less heavy and a little more at peace, it helps calm my anxiety and dizziness. I also practice because it makes me feel stronger, physically and mentally. I prove to myself every time I practice how dedicated I can be, how strong I am, and how much I’ve improved over the past year.
4) Balance: Yoga helps me practice physical, mental, and emotional balance. Literal balance of the body and mental balance between pushing myself to improve and at the same time being gentle with myself (not pushing myself to physical exhaustion. I practice yoga because of the physical, mental and emotional benefits that it brings to my life which allows me to do my job better and allows me to be a more caring person.
*I always recommend newer students watch videos on youtube if they feel uncomfortable practicing at a studio and when I teach my students, I always tell them to focus on safety of postures and breath. If you ever want to join a class, or want a private lesson, please reach out to me via email.