Nowadays, we’re constantly bombarded by sensory stimulation and technology overload. When we have an unceasing connection to the world outside of us in the form of smartphones, social media, and screen time means that we are revving our sympathetic nervous system, and maxing out our stress levels, which puts our system into overdrive. As cold weather sinks in and the world slows down, we’re reminded of how important it is to take a step back and seek inner stillness. A regular yoga practice can be that place of refuge for us as its teachings invite us to unplug.
Yoga reminds us to come back to the breath.
The most essential part of any yoga practice is breathing. We know that in order to connect with our bodies and minds, we must first connect with our breath. Sitting with the breath, and remembering that it is at the root of all we do in life, is the easiest way to take a moment to recharge and renew.
Yoga reminds us to connect with the body.
In yoga, we see in every pose what a magnificent thing the human body is. When your mind is focused on finding or holding a pose, flowing through a sun salutation, or breathing through a move that challenges you, you can put the other, more chaotic parts of your existence on the back burner. Learning to cherish your body, as well as how to listen to its wants and needs, provides you with another way to ground yourself during hectic or stressful times.
Yoga reminds us to be in the moment.
The monkey mind is no joke! We’re all constantly thinking about our next move, what could we have done differently at work yesterday, how our loved ones are feeling today, what’s in the news – things that, for the most part, we really can’t control. It’s easy to work yourself into a lather over could haves, should haves, and what ifs, and when you do that with any regularity, it becomes a habit. Any physical activity can help us exert this energy in a healthy and productive way, but because yoga’s mental and spiritual elements encourage us to press pause on our lives before and after this time on the mat, you are actively setting aside everything other than right now. External distractions melt away when we are single-mindedly focused on connecting with our breath and body. Overcoming the monkey mind and learning to be here now takes time, but when you commit to a regular yoga practice, you’re saying that you are ready to put in the work and grow a quieter, more peaceful mind. Even if you’re only able to find that peace on the mat for now, that is progress!
Yoga helps us focus on clarity and stillness.
When we’re able to truly connect with ourselves through a yoga practice, everything feels a little more real. From that realness blooms the ability to see things clearly, which in turn helps us to find peace and stillness more easily. Yoga gives us the tools we need to get to those places.
Yoga helps us accept who and where we are.
The gift our yoga practice gives us is the ability to love ourselves completely and not only accept but embrace our place in the universe. It’s human nature to compare yourself to someone else, and constant connection to others through technology can often leave us feeling inadequate and unsatisfied with ourselves. This can spiral pretty quickly into becoming a negative, toxic approach to your life. Over time, a regular yoga practice will not only open your eyes to what a remarkable thing you are and how wondrous it is to be you, but to the fact that your life is a journey, and the path you’re on is yours alone. There is nothing more important than learning to love yourself and your path. It makes everything else that comes your way more joyous and easier to navigate.
Yoga helps us get back to what’s important in our daily lives.
The self-love and compassion that yoga teaches us puts us closer in touch with the things that really matter. Learning how to be still with yourself cannot help but radiate outward and touch every other part of your life! Chipping away at fear, worry, resentment, stress, and self-doubt (among other unpleasant things) helps us to live a life that is more purposeful.
Yoga teaches us mindfulness.
Connecting with your breath and body, calming the monkey mind, living purposefully, loving yourself – all of these things have their roots in mindfulness. When we put all these pieces together, what we get is a more conscious, conscientious, mindful way of living. We can work out our mindfulness muscle in many ways, but we here at Om On believe there’s no better way to commit to mindfulness than practicing yoga.